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Please look at the following sentence "The F.B.I. had been examining Mr. Flynn’s phone calls as he came under growing questions about his interactions with Russian officials and his management of the National Security Council" what action is the earliest. To my understanding this means that FBI was exаmining him and then new questions appeared in the middle of FBI examining?

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  • I can't elaborate the why but I think all those things are in parallel. Journalists very often use these x as he y expressions, it doesn't mean there is a causal or temporal connection, it's just a way to avoid writing a bullet point laundry list of things that have been happening to Flynn. Hopefully someone who also knows the theory will waltz in and explain the construction. – Formagella Feb 15 '17 at 11:05
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To my understanding this means that FBI was exаmining him and then new questions appeared in the middle of FBI examining?

Yes, but better, "questions appeared during the FBI examination".
The past perfect progressive (had been examining) had been happening before the simple past (he came),

The actions are not completely "parallel" but are partially concurrent. The actions are not grammatically parallel.
Parallel actions would have been:

The F.B.I. had been examining Mr. Flynn’s phone calls as he was coming under growing questions about his interactions with Russian officials and his management of the National Security Council

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  • And past perfect implies that all these actions are complete by now? Because in the next sentence" In addition, the Army has been investigating whether Mr. Flynn received money from the Russian government during a trip he took to Moscow in 2015," – Vlad Feb 15 '17 at 12:23
  • There is not a simple past perfect involved. There is: past perfect progressive (had been examining---------simple past (he came), ------------ has been investigating (perfect progressive) " In addition, the Army has been investigating whether Mr. Flynn received money from the Russian government during a trip he took to Moscow in 2015,-------this action is not related to the original sentence in your question, this action has been ongoing from an indefinite point until at least recently, – J. Taylor Feb 15 '17 at 16:17
  • Agreed, and confirming this order of events, we have "came under growing questions." That means examining started first, and questions came and grew afterwards. – Yosef Baskin Feb 15 '17 at 17:12

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