Former FBI Director James Comey talks backstage before a panel discussion about his book "A Higher Loyalty" on June 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
The White House on Friday night dismissed the New York Times report as "absurd".
One of the New York Times reporters who broke the bombshell story on the FBI's secret investigation into Donald Trump's ties to Russian Federation after he fired James Comey explained how that probe differed initially from special counsel Robert Mueller's - and how it adds to what the public already knew.
Rudolph Giuliani, one of Trump's attorneys, also downplayed the significance of the investigation.
President Trump will not answer any more questions from special counsel Robert Mueller, Reuters reported recently. But, according to the Times, the bureau decided not to open a file on Trump himself, because it was unsure of how to investigate a major party candidate for the president of the United States. But the evidence so far shows a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and several lied about the communication.
"Campaigns leak polling data all the time", Giuliani said, before decrying the focus on the investigation as a "joke" and "total mockery" that "only happens because 75 percent of the press hates Trump".
But wait, you say, we already knew Mueller was looking into the 2016 campaign and possible ties between it and Russian Federation!
It previously reported Mueller and the FBI are investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice over Comey's firing, but the counterintelligence investigation into Trump had not been disclosed until the Times scoop. Russian Federation also has denied collusion. According to Politico, at least 33 people and three companies have been charged as a result of the Mueller investigation.
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.
Neal Katyal, the former acting solicitor general under President Obama, wrote that any Trump attempts to hide parts of the report from the public would be defeated in court.