Federal Bureau of Investigation director rejects Trump wiretap claim, confirms Russian Federation probe

Jane Richards
March 21, 2017

Comey made the comment during a congressional hearing on Russia's suspected efforts to meddle with last year's presidential election. He says he's authorized by the Justice Department to make the disclosure.

The FBI director's confirmation of the probe breaks with the FBI's policy not to disclose ongoing investigations.

The director acknowledged that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but said he has been authorised to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

Comey on Monday publicly confirmed for the first time that his agency is investigating possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign and whether any crimes may have been committed during last year's election campaign as part of a wider probe into the hacking of Democratic servers and the Clinton campaign. "It certainly wasn't our intention to say that today, because we don't have any information on that subject, and that's not something that was looked at".

He also repeated his demand that investigations focus not on his campaign but on who leaked details of links to Russian Federation.

Comey during his testimony confirmed that the FBI is investigating Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election, including any possible coordination between members of President Trump's campaign and Russian officials. The public wants to know that Russian Federation didn't interfere with one of the cornerstones of our democracy - a free, honest election. Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the FBI is investigating this question, which means the agency has at least some incriminating evidence.

USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation tried to help Trump by hacking leading Democrats. He's refused to back down from his assertion that Obama wiretapped his New York City skyscraper during the campaign, despite there being no evidence.

Two other senior officials came forward Monday saying the White House had twisted their words - former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Sen.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is speaking at the opening of the committee's first public hearing on Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

In a dramatic hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey, once again finding himself at the epicenter of a political storm, also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a clear preference for whom he wanted to see as the next president - and it was not Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

But the panel's ranking Democrat said the material offered circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow's efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

In an earlier tweet, he called the allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation "fake news". Trump, tweeting from his seldom used @POTUS account, wrote that the directors told Congress that "Russia did not influence the electoral process".

President Trump ignored yet another question about his baseless wiretap claim on Monday at a White House photo op. "Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!"

The FBI also said it had no information to support President Trump's controversial tweets alleging his predecessor President Barack Obama ordered a wire-tap on Trump Tower, the mogul's NY city home and office as candidate. The latter is much more wide-ranging and would include everything from "fake news" and misinformation campaigns to hacking and leaked emails.

Lawmakers also pressed the Federal Bureau of Investigation boss to explain the intelligence community's assessment that Russian hacking was meant to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the election.

Mr Trump created a controversy in early March when he tweeted without giving evidence that former President Barack Obama's administration had wiretapped Trump Tower in NY.

The committee is investigating, among other things, Russian hacking that intelligence officials have said was meant to influence the election. Allegedly, cyberspies from the country hacked several high-profile Democratic groups and people, in an effort to tilt the outcome in President Donald Trump's favor.

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