FBI investigated US President Trump for possible secret Russian favours, reports say. Was he working ... wittingly or unwittingly working on their behalf?
McCabe, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director, meanwhile, was sacked in March ahead of his planned retirement following a bombshell report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz that claimed McCabe lied to investigators and his then-boss Comey at least four times, three of them under oath.
In the interview President Trump said he probably would not agree to a sit-down interview with Mr. Mueller, who also is investigating whether the Republican President's campaign conspired with Moscow and whether President Trump has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe.
The report, published on Friday (local time), cited unnamed former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.
The case was then referred to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into whether Russian agents interfered with the 2016 election, the Times reported, adding that it is not clear whether the special counsel has continued that part of the investigation.
"I don't know if there's any time in our lifetime or the history of the country where federal law enforcement looked down to the White House ... and thought the actions of the president might threaten US national security".
The decision to investigate Trump himself was an aggressive move by FBI officials who were confronting the chaotic aftermath of the firing of Mr. Comey and enduring the president's verbal assaults on the Russian Federation investigation as a "witch hunt," the Times reported.
Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security.
The investigation was one part criminal, into possible obstruction of justice, and one part counterintelligence, looking into possible national security concerns, the Times reports. She also disputed that Trump had ever been soft on Russian Federation.
"When I did this, now I said to myself, 'You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story".
"The fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing", said Rudolph Giuliani, a lawyer for the president.
President Trump said he was unaware of Mr. Whitaker's past statements about Mr. Mueller's probe and that he would "not get involved" if Mr. Whitaker moved to curtail it.
Baker privately testified in October before House investigators who were examining the FBI's handling of the full Russian Federation inquiry, it said. NBC News reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to step down after Mueller completes the investigation and expects that he will be able to leave by March.