Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Special Investigator Takes over Probe into Trump Campaign's 'Links to Russia'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Special Investigator Takes over Probe into Trump Campaign's 'Links to Russia'

Article excerpt

Byline: David Gardner US Correspondent

THE crisis engulfing Donald Trump's presidency deepened today as a newlyappointed special investigator took charge of a sweeping FBI probe into potential ties between the billionaire's election campaign and the Kremlin.

The latest twist in the "Russia-gate" scandal sent the dollar and US stocks tumbling as fresh revelations emerged about Mr Trump's ill-fated decision to appoint Michael Flynn a key figure in the federal investigation as his national security adviser.

According to the New York Times, Mr Flynn was the subject of an FBI investigation before he was appointed and the Trump camp was aware that he was under suspicion when he was given the highly sensitive job.

The Trump transition team was allegedly informed weeks before the new president moved into the White House that Mr Flynn was being investigated for allegedly secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the presidential campaign.

Despite the warning, Mr Trump went ahead and hired the retired lieutenantgeneral to one of America's most sensitive posts, giving him direct access to the West Wing and to America's most highly-classified information.

Mr Flynn, 58, lasted just 24 days in the job before being axed after acting attorney general Sally Yates told the White House he could be subject to blackmail by Moscow for misleading vice-president Mike Pence about the nature of conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to Washington. Citing "two people familiar with the case," the New York Times today reported that Mr Flynn told the Trump transition team's chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn, now the White House counsel, about the investigation on January 4, more than two weeks before the inauguration.

The Flynn legal team made a similar disclosure two days later to transitionteam lawyers, says the report. …

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