In an update to the original WaPo story, according to which a senior White House official was a "significant person of interest" in the Russia probe, NBC reported late on Friday that according to two US officials, an unnamed current White House official is under FBI investigation related to Russia collusion. While there is no concrete further information, some pundits have tossed around the name of Jared Kushner as a potential target of the probe.
NBC News confirms: the activities of a current White House official are now under investigation in FBI's Russia probe, 2 U.S. officials say— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 19, 2017
NBC News confirms that a White House official is under FBI scrutiny.— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) May 19, 2017
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The NYT/Wapo bombs are flying early today. Shortly after the New York Times dropped a story alleging that Trump bragged to the Russians about firing the "nut job" James Comey, the Washington Post has just dropped another bomb of their own alleging that a senior White House adviser and "someone close to the president" is under scrutiny by investigators looking into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.
The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.
Today's bombshell du jour, comes to us courtesy of yet another batch of anonymous sources. That said, this time WaPo went even one step further and left out the target of their political hit job as well, describing him/her only as "someone close to the president." So now we have anonymous sources and anonymous targets, the definition of 'quality journalism'.
Shortly after the article dropped, the White House released the following statement reiterating their previous assertions that they welcome a "thorough investigation" which they say "will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity."
"As the President has stated before - a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity."
Meanwhile, despite the assertion that "someone close to the president" is a target of the ongoing Russia inquiry, WaPo's 'sources' said that the investigation remains focused on Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort.
The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Cabinet members Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
People familiar with the investigation said the intensifying effort does not mean criminal charges are near, or that any such charges will result. Earlier this week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as special counsel and lead the investigation into Russian meddling.
Shocking that both the NYT and Wapo dropped stories just in time to dominate the weekend headlines, almost as if the releases were coordinated. Actually, make that 100% guaranteed...