FBI under scrutiny amid speculation over Trump’s Russian ties

Trump

Trump

Speculation has mounted in recent days over what the FBI knows about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, from a preliminary FBI probe into a former Trump adviser to an ex-spy’s claims that the Kremlin sought to cultivate Trump over several years.

FBI Director James Comey set off a firestorm of controversy on Friday by announcing that his agency was reviewing the emails of a top Hillary Clinton aide and that the emails might be “pertinent” to a previous investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

The announcement, which offered only a vague update on an ongoing inquiry before the FBI had reviewed the new evidence, angered Democrats for violating longstanding Justice Department policy on avoiding such statements so close to an election and has even drawn the ire of Republicans.

Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate minority leader, responded Sunday in an angry letter accusing the FBI director of choosing not to reveal that his agency had “explosive” information on Trump’s ties to Russia.

“In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity,” Reid wrote. “The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public.”

Reid’s allegations prompted a flurry of speculation as to what the FBI might know as well as accusations that it may be cherry-picking what information it releases to the public for the purposes of influencing the election.