Trump administration claims ‘no evidence’
FBI Director James Comey confirmed for the first time Monday that the agency is investigating Russian interference in last year´s presidential election and notably Moscow´s possible collusion with President Donald Trump´s campaign.
He also rejected Trump´s claim that predecessor Barack Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower in New York, saying both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department had no evidence to support such allegations.
The explosive testimony in the House Intelligence Committee — the first public hearing into both controversies — came as Trump sought to steer the news focus by calling the Russia issue, which has been a cloud over his November victory, “fake news.”
His angry tweets added to the huge political pressure from both parties on Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency.
But the FBI director opened the hearing with a bombshell — confirming longstanding reports that his agency is conducting a counterintelligence probe into the Russian government´s covert effort to steer the 2016 presidential vote.
“And 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,” he said.
Donald Trump´s administration on Monday insisted “nothing has changed” after revelations that the FBI is investigating his campaign´s links to Russia and said there was no collusion.
“There is NO EVIDENCE of Trump-Russia collusion and there is NO EVIDENCE of a Trump-Russia scandal,” a senior administration official said in a written statement after FBI director James Comey´s explosive Congressional testimony.
Trump followed up with a series of tweets, providing his take on lengthy testimony, claiming — misleadingly — that the FBI and NSA testified that “Russia did not influence electoral process.”
Trump also focused on leaks of information about his aides´ ties to Russia and appeared to imply that his predecessor Barack Obama was among those who could have provided the information to journalists.
“FBI Director Comey refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia,” Trump tweeted.—Agencies