Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s accusation that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer lied about President Trump and the Russia investigation — that Schumer said the president was under investigation after he, Schumer, had been specifically told by the FBI that Trump was not — is shedding new light on the events that led to the president’s rising frustration over the Russia probe, the FBI, and Democrats who sought to make political hay out of Trump’s troubles.
Start in January. As Inauguration Day approached, the Trump-Russia affair dominated media talk. The central question, then as now, was whether Trump or his associates colluded with the Russians to try to influence the 2016 election. And the root of the president’s frustration was the same: he had been assured, by the highest levels of law enforcement, that he was not under investigation, while at the same time the impression grew — fed by officials who knew otherwise — that he was under investigation.
On Jan. 6, when Trump was president-elect, FBI Director James Comey met with him to tell him about the so-called Russia dossier, which, among other things, described alleged Trump sexual encounters in a Moscow hotel. (Comey later called the dossier “unverified.”) Comey later noted that Trump did not ask whether he, Trump, was being investigated personally, but that Comey, on his own initiative, “offered that assurance.”
On Jan. 27, Comey again told the president that he was not under investigation.