The FBI has apparently launched not one, not two, but three separate investigations into Russian interference in November's election.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections, according to five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation.
While the fact that the FBI is investigating had been reported previously by the New York Times and other media, these officials shed new light on both the precise number of inquires and their focus.
The FBI's Pittsburgh field office, which runs many cyber security investigations, is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee's computer systems, the officials said. Those breaches, in 2015 and the first half of 2016, exposed the internal communications of party officials as the Democratic nominating convention got underway and helped undermine support for Hillary Clinton.
The Pittsburgh case has progressed furthest, but Justice Department officials in Washington believe there is not enough clear evidence yet for an indictment, two of the sources said.
Meanwhile the bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who called themselves “Guccifer 2” and posted emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s account, the sources said. Those emails contained details about fundraising by the Clinton Foundation and other topics.
Beyond the two FBI field offices, FBI counterintelligence agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants and foreign communications intercepts, two of the people said.
This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.
I'm betting very strongly this is directly related to FBI Director Comey's meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee members Friday afternoon.
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with ex-officio member and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, huddled for a total of more than two hours on Friday with Comey.The FBI director’s visit was not announced publicly, and it’s possible members of the Capitol Hill press corps only found out because he was spotted in the hallways and entered a secure room used for intelligence briefings.
But leaving that secure room in the Capitol Visitor Center, senators declined to even confirm the presence of the FBI director, much less the substance of the meeting. Those who did talk generally only gave “no comments” or referred questions to Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr and ranking member Mark Warner.
Both Burr and Warner proved just as loquacious.
“I think we made our non-statement statement,” Warner told reporters after repeated questions about the briefing.
“I won’t talk about it at all,” said Burr.
Whatever was in that Friday briefing has Senate Republicans shaken badly. No wonder Trump was holding a campaign rally this weekend in Florida.