On Friday evening, The New York Times published a report indicating that the FBI launched an investigation into whether Trump was working on behalf of Russia and "against American interests." The FBI wasn't solely examining Russia's interference in the 2016 election and Trump's attempts to hindrance the FBI investigation thereafter, the probe sought to delve into the relationship between the president and Russia, and whether the former was acting as an asset for the latter.
The FBI's counterintelligence investigation was established after the president fired former FBI director James Comey in May 2017. Their intention was “to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.” The probe was discreetly opened alongside a separate criminal investigation that sought to determine whether Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey.
The New York Times reported that the counterintelligence probe was folded into Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation, and whether or not it is still active remains unclear. Although we aren't aware of what the FBI discovered, the intelligence bureau's skepticism was overwhelming enough to justify opening an investigation in the first place, which prompted wide-spread response.
Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent and independent presidential candidate in 2016, called the president a "traitor" and pleaded that this news not be digested lightly. “That the FBI had cause to investigate a sitting American president for possible collaboration with a foreign power against the nation should shock and awaken us to the gravity of our situation. Still, beyond the perception of many, Trump has betrayed us,” McMullin wrote on Twitter.
The president promptly took to Twitter to denounce the Times and the FBI while asserting his own innocence. “Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze?" he wrote.
The president proceeded to make baseless claims about the FBI and their investigation of his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton. He unsurprisingly alleged that Comey is being protected by Mueller, and the special counsel has no interest in investigating the "real" collusion by "Crooked Hillary Clinton." Characteristically ending his schpeal by congratulating himself, Trump alleged that he has been harder on Russia than the three presidents who preceded him.
However, knowing that the president would react in such a way, the Times made note of how aggressive opening up an investigation into Trump's relationship with Russia is, while noting that it was not unprompted. “The decision to investigate Mr. Trump himself was an aggressive move by F.B.I. officials who were confronting the chaotic aftermath of the firing of Mr. Comey and enduring the president’s verbal assaults on the Russia investigation as a ‘witch hunt,’ ”