FBI's Russia investigation now targeting top White House official

FBI investigates a "top White House official"; previously they had only been interested in campaign staffers

By Matthew Sheffield

Published May 19, 2017 5:03PM (EDT)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, D.C.                 (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, D.C. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The relentless rush of Trump-related leaks continued on Friday, as the Washington Post revealed that the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign has now focused in on a high-level employee currently working out of the White House.

Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper did not name the senior Trump administration staffer but said that the individual had become a "significant person of interest."

Mike Flynn, Trump's former top national security adviser, was forced to resign after his ties to the Russian government were publicly revealed and he was shown to have lied to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he'd had with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.

According to a Wednesday report from the New York Times, Flynn informed Trump's transition team on January 4th that he was under federal investigation for his ties to Russia and other foreign governments. Despite knowledge of the probe, the incoming administration decided to go forward with plans to hire Flynn as the National Security Advisor, a position that gave him access to America's highest military and intelligence secrets.

According to the Times, Brandon Van Grack, a veteran espionage prosecutor, is leading a grand jury investigation that has recently been issuing subpoenas.

The larger Russia investigation is separate from the inquiry into Flynn's previous work and may not result in criminal charges if the individuals involved were only found to have breached government protocol rather than federal laws.

In the Post story, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was quoted denying that investigators would find anything incriminating toward the former Trump campaign.

“As the president has stated before, a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity," Spicer said.

Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via m.sheffield@salon.com or follow him on Twitter.

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Donald Trump Fbi Mike Flynn Russia Investigation