'Mueller is tracking an infectious' disease: Ex FBI counterintelligence head explains Trump's Russia investigation
Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump attorney Michael Cohen, composite image.

The former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation explained on MSNBC's Deadline: White House that special counsel Robert Mueller is like an epidemiologist tracking the spread of an infection.

"Frank Figliuzzi, I love when you take me inside the investigator's mind, inside these rooms," said host Nicolle Wallace.

"Well, before we talk about crimes, let's not forget how this special counsel inquiry started and what's at the heart of it," Figliuzzi replied. "It started as a Russian counterintelligence investigation. So, one of the questions that Mueller has to answer is not whether there are criminal violations, but rather how, when and why a foreign power may have compromised our president."

"That question needs to be answered and it's paramount," he added.

The former head of counterintelligence suggested that Trump attorney Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort are in Mueller's cross-hairs.

"It's helpful to think of the Mueller team almost as epidemiologists tracking the origin of an infection," he suggested. "Increasingly now, with this reporting, we are seeing that Cohen and certainly Manafort may be the vectors for the Russian infection."

"Let me stop you on the infection analogy... I want to know is Donald Trump the host body?" Wallace asked."Iin this analogy, is Donald Trump the one infected with conflicts of interest on the Russia side, would that be one of your theories?"

"So, this is the question," Figliuzzi said. "I think we're looking at a president who was tainted early on with Russian business -- although he keeps denying he had any Russian business, doesn't have any Russian friends and then I think his circle of friends propagated that virus and that infection."

"Again, the contact and coordination is hiding in plain sight," Wallace concluded. "I think what we're getting at is the motive and whether or not there was a conspiracy to impact the outcome of the election."