The New York Times reported FBI agents started a secret investigation into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign called "Crossfire Hurricane" just 100 days before Election Day.
The case, named after a Rolling Stones lyric, was used by only the small group of inside agents, who had interviewed the Australian ambassador to the United Kingdom, who had evidence of possible collusion between Russian Federation and a Trump adviser.
The New York Times first revealed late previous year it was at a boozy night in May 2016, at London's Kensington Wine Rooms, that Trump's then foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos told Downer Russia had dirt on Mr Trump's political rival Hillary Clinton.
Downer reportedly notified USA intelligence officials of his run in with Papadopoulos after the emails, which contained damaging information about Trump's former opponent Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOregon governor to face state rep in November Progressive pick Wild wins Dem primary for Pa. House seat Pelosi presses Ryan for classified briefing on election security MORE just as the aide said, began to leak to the public.
A bombshell report from the New York Times revealed this week that the FBI's investigation into Trump-Russia collusion was codenamed "Crossfire Hurricane" before the probe was publicly disclosed to the American people.
Trump has repeatedly slammed the probe as a witch hunt.
The previously secret assignment began with an August 2016 Federal Bureau of Investigation interview of the Australian ambassador about his meeting with Papadopoulos to evaluate evidence a campaign adviser knew about Russian meddling.
Papadopoulos became one of Mueller's first scalps, pleading guilty to lying to officials.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has carefully attempted to fix his relationship with Trump after the leaders had a fiery phone call about a refugee deal a week after the president moved into the White House.