No wiretap of Trump Tower, GOP intel committee says
- Author: Zachary Reyes Mar 20, 2017,
Mar 20, 2017, 19:13
As FBI Director James Comey sits before the House Intelligence Committee for its first public hearing on Russian Federation and the USA presidential election, Comey has already warned representatives that he will not be able to share all of the information that he has. Trump has also said he was referring more generally to surveillance, not necessarily bugging of phones.
The investigation, which Comey said began in late July, more than three months before the election, "includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government", he said.
On Monday, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers testified that Trump administration's allegations against the British were also bunk.
Comey was responding to Trump's tweets from March 4th, in which he claimed that Obama "wiretapped" Trump Tower ahead of the November election and called Obama a "sick" guy. He said Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation should be going after media leaks and maybe even Hillary Clinton instead. "Must find leaker now!"
President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of fabricating allegations about Russian Federation and creating more "fake news". It is no crime for Trump or his associates to have ties to Russian Federation, he added. US intelligence officials have not publicly raised the possibility of contacts between the Clintons and Moscow.
"All I can tell you is we have no information that supports them", Comey said.
"Of course, there's one thing to say there's evidence; there's another thing to say we can prove this or prove it beyond a reasonable doubt", he said. It comes just over two weeks after Trump tweeted, without presenting evidence, that Obama had Trump Tower's "wires tapped" during the presidential campaign.
"Let me be clear, " House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Monday, "we know there was not a wiretap on Trump Tower". Our ability to share details with Congress and the American people is limited when those investigations are still open, which I hope makes sense.
The FBI has been conducting a wide-ranging counterintelligence investigation into Russia's covert role in the election.
Nunes said: "For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russian Federation poses".
"For a lot of Americans this is the first time to really tune in to exactly what the Russians did and what the investigation involves, and I'd like to walk through with both directors what do we know about the Russian operation? They're also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe", he said on "Fox News Sunday".
The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.
Although the FBI's practice is to avoid confirming the existence of ongoing investigations, it made an exception in this case because it views doing so as being in the public interest.
Comey, appearing before the House Intelligence Committee along with National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, also confirmed for the first time that the FBI was investigating Russian interference, including communications between Trump associates and Russian officials. His appearances on Capitol Hill since then have occurred in classified settings, often with small groups of lawmakers, and he has made no public statements connected to the Trump campaign or Russian Federation.
"The FBI and the Justice Department have no information to support" Trump's wiretap assertions, Comey said.