Comey: FBI Investigating Possible Links Between Trump Campaign & Russia

Andrew Cummings
March 20, 2017

"On the other hand, if the Trump campaign, or anybody associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of our democracy in history", he said.

Mr Comey confirmed that the FBI began the counter-intelligence investigation in late July 2016, remarking that for such an inquiry that was "a relatively short period of time".

The president does not have the unilateral authority to order a wiretap on suspected foreign spies operating inside the USA, experts say.

Monday's hearing, one of several by congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling, could allow for the greatest public accounting to date of investigations that have shadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.

"Because it is an open ongoing investigation and is classified, I can not say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining", Comey added.

Earlier in the hearing, the chairman of the committee contradicted an earlier assertion from Mr Trump by saying that there had been no wiretapping of Trump Tower. "That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts", Comey said in his opening statement. The FBI is investigating whether people associated with Trump's campaign coordinated with Russian Federation.

Earlier at the hearing, he confirmed publicly for the first time that the FBI is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Both Nunes and Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, have said that the committee had not found any evidence to support Trump's claim that Obama had Trump Tower phones "tapped" before the 2016 election.

FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers are to testify.

U.S. Rep Devin Nunes asked Rogers if there was any evidence that Russian Federation interfered with vote tallies in several states. Nunes also said the hearing would seek information about who has leaked classified information linked to the issue or Russian election interference. "The real story that Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and all others should be looking into is the leaking of classified information".

"There is certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation", he added. "James Clapper and others stated there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russian Federation. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!" This month, Stone acknowledged he had contact with Guccifer 2.0, an online persona considered a front for Russian intelligence operatives.

"Guccifer 2.0" is the name taken by a hacker or group of hackers that United States intelligence agencies believe were actually Russian government intelligence agents.

Finally, Nunes said he is focused on leaks of classified information to the media. "No matter what else happened, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it - President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower did not happen", he said.

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