‘Dozens of flashing red lights’: Military expert says it would have been a ‘scandal’ if FBI did not investigate Trump’s ties to Russia
Trump's relationship with Moscow has stalked the first year of his presidency, with key former aides under a US investigation for alleged collaboration with the Kremlin. (SPUTNIK/AFP / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV)

A conservative military expert told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the FBI had no choice but to open a counterintelligence investigation of President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College in Rhode Island, said an abundance of evidence suggested the president might have been compromised by Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

"My personal feeling, it's always just my personal view here, this is primarily about his financial dealings that are deeply entangled or seem to be deeply entangled with the Russians for a long time, and that he fears the exposure of that information. At the very least, that's how he's acting."

Nichols said it would have been a scandal if the FBI did not investigate whether Trump was acting against U.S. interests on behalf of Russia.

"The president's apologists and enablers and defenders are rushing to say this is the FBI, it's a vendetta, there's no way can you do this," he said. "But if you have this much information about any American entangled this deeply with Russia, it practically would have been malpractice for the FBI not to look into this, with dozens of flashing red lights with the president himself bragging about firing the FBI director."

"At some point either they're a law enforcement counterintelligence agency or they're not," Nichols added. "I'd say it would have been a scandal if they hadn't looked into it."