Here's why the FBI thought Trump could be a Russian asset
Trump abruptly cancelled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin planned for the G20 summit. (AFP/File / Brendan Smialowski)

It was revealed this week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened an investigation into President Donald Trump attempting to ensure he is not a Kremlin asset. Agents and Justice Department insiders who spoke with them said the White House’s protestations that the investigation was “absurd” are far from the truth, with one admitting it was based on “serious and substantial evidence,” the Daily Beast reported.


Presumably, special counsel Robert Mueller has the information gathered and knows the facts of the case, but the possibility was news to Americans. Washington Post political editor Aaron Blake wrote Saturday that it was a shocking story and the tipping point was FBI Director James Comey's firing.

"Investigators reportedly shed their previous reservations about the inquiry after Trump’s televised admission to NBC News’ Lester Holt that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he did it," wrote Blake. "Another red flag was Trump’s attempts to include a reference to the Russia investigation in Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein’s letter justifying the firing."

It's shocking enough that the president is being investigated for possibly working with a foreign country to score a presidential win, but the idea that a counterintelligence inquiry was launched was even more surprising.

Trump admitted everything to Lester Holt in an NBC News interview. However, the salacious Christopher Steele dossier prompted research into even more questions that it prompted. Then there's the matter of Trump asking Russia to find Hillary Clinton's emails live during a press conference.

“Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous and inexplicable behavior is the possibility — the very real possibility — that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump,” the Post quoted Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who took to the Senate floor last year.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) called it "likely" and retired Republican Charlie Dent (R-PA) agreed.

As the investigations continue even more has been uncovered.

"If Trump was working for Russia, it would be logical to assume he’d need some way of actually learning what Russia desired — which would be difficult through regular channels, given they’d be monitored," Blake wrote. "We don’t know where these back channels stand in the Russia investigation, but if Mueller were probing a potential secret Trump-Russia alliance, you’d think they’d be of interest."

Then Trump met with Putin in Helsinki last year. No one was in attendance and no notes or recordings were made. The world had no idea what happened, what was said and what was promised. It has prompted many to speculate that Trump wanted it this way intentionally.

"But there was apparently enough subterfuge and concern here to cause the FBI to take an extraordinary step — even if it might have wound up being a brief one," Blake closed. "The idea that Trump’s interests might not indeed be “America First” has largely bubbled beneath the surface of American politics for the past two-plus years. It’s still highly speculative, based upon the public evidence, but as always, the question is what Mueller knows that we don’t."

Read the full take at The Washington Post.