The FBI counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump is not tied to the special counsel investigation and could continue for long after Robert Mueller issues his report.
NBC News Justice and National Security correspondent Julia Ainsley explained:
A counterintelligence investigation doesn’t always end with criminal charges. Sometimes, it can last for a decade, as the FBI gathers more evidence of players in a particular scheme, from a foreign government who is trying to use certain people to infiltrate our government. That can go back the other way. They can try to find people who they flip to become, you can call them spies, for the United States. It is kind of this game that goes back and forth. It is really unusual, when the president is involved, however. That means that the way this would end, and being able to inform the executive branch of a potential problem with national security that could impact foreign policy, the person you report that to is the executive branch. Of course, the head of the executive branch being the president, that’s problematic.
What The Washington Post story does is it gives context as to why this could be crucially important. There were at least five face-to-face interactions the president is having with Vladimir Putin he’s not only keeping from the American public but from his senior advisers. These are the people going out to defend the president every day, defend his policies, and to call the Mueller investigation a witch hunt and a hoax. Perhaps these people aren’t getting all of the information. What does all of this boil down to? One, as Pete just talked about, we might get a Mueller report by the beginning of March. This counterintelligence investigation could keep going. Two, Congress matters more than ever. If this keeps going, it could be that it is mentioned in the Mueller report, but it is redacted and the public wouldn’t know the details. It would take Congress to say, no, this doesn’t work in this situation, and to be able to step beyond what we typically see in a counterintelligence investigation, and try to make the details public. They’d argue it matters for the American people.
The FBI counterintelligence investigation of Trump is not tied to Mueller and could last for years to come. In other words, Trump's Russia problems aren't going anywhere anytime soon. https://t.co/pNtibkleS6 pic.twitter.com/73yjus7hbR
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) January 14, 2019
The FBI Investigation Will Continue After Mueller Is Done
The main Republican talking point in defense of Trump is to falsely claim that he has been tougher on Russia than Obama was, but that avoids the real question. Republicans don’t want to talk about Trump’s relationship with Russia, because the honest answer is that they don’t know the depth and scope of the president’s relationship with Putin.
When Trump was a candidate, they never asked, and now that he is president, they never investigated.
The FBI investigation will continue probably long after Mueller has turned in his report. It very well could continue after Trump leaves office.
Trump’s Russia problem isn’t going away anytime soon, which is why Republicans who turn a blind eye to Trump’s Russia ties are betraying their own country, and need to pay for these borderline crimes.