The Times reported on Friday that the FBI was so concerned with his behavior toward Russian Federation that they started an investigation into whether Trump was actually working on behalf of the regime of Vladimir Putin or had fallen under their influence.
The officials said they found out about the apparent concealment when a White House adviser and a State Department official tried to get information from the interpreter beyond a separate readout provided by Tillerson.
Trump's secrecy surrounding Putin "is not only unusual by historical standards, it is outrageous", said Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state now at the Brookings Institution, who participated in more than a dozen meetings between former presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.
US President Donald Trump listens during a meeting on border security in the Cabinet Room of the White House January 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russian Federation and whether the president obstructed the investigation.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he could not comment on the specifics of the report, but said his committee would press ahead with its probe of Trump's contacts with Russian Federation.
Trump tweeted early Saturday that the report showed that the FBI leadership "opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof" after he had fired Comey.
The FBI investigation was later folded into the broader probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible collaboration by the Trump campaign.
'Think of it, I had a one-on-one meeting with Putin, like I do with every other leader. All have been frequent targets by right-wing media outlets that claim that the so-called "deep state" to working to undermine Trump's presidency.
No evidence has publicly emerged that Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian officials, the Times said. "We know from the reporting on Friday that the FBI had entered into a criminal and a counterintelligence investigation into the president".
The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called the Times report "absurd" and said Comey was sacked for being "a disgraced partisan hack".
Then he went back to his attacks on Comey, former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe and agents Peter Strozk and Lisa Page.
The Associated Press, commenting on Trump's next series of tweets, which related to the partial government shutdown and the wall, seemingly ridiculed the president as "tweet [ing] into the void" while Congress is away from D.C.
His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for campaign finance and fraud crimes while his campaign chief Paul Manafort was convicted of financial fraud.