Comey: FBI is investigating possible coordination between Russia, Trump campaign

On Wednesday, Devin Nunes, Republican chair of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said United States spy agencies scooped up the communications of members of Trump's presidential transition team late past year, possibly including those of the president-elect himself - prompting Schiff to question whether the committee chair was acting as a "surrogate of the White House".

The hearing, and the fact that Comey went so far as to acknowledge that there is an investigation, demonstrates the seriousness with which both the FBI and the Congressional Intelligence Committee take the issue of the alleged Russian interference, Mahaffee said.

However, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, later told MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, that the evidence that Trump's aides colluded with the Russians to interfere in the US election was "more than circumstantial", CBS News reports.

"The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign", USA officials told CNN.

"Investigating it and having proof of it are two different things", Spicer said. But other US officials who spoke to CNN say it's premature to draw that inference from the information gathered so far since it's largely circumstantial.

The FBI can not yet prove that collusion took place, but the information suggesting collusion is now a large focus of the investigation, the officials said.

Even if his advisers are ultimately cleared in the Russian Federation probe, as the White House insists they will be, the investigation could loom over Trump's presidency for months or even years, distracting from the ambitious domestic agenda he's vowed to enact.

Comey noted that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but he said he'd been authorized to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

Before Comey's disclosure on Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been investigating top Trump aides, such as Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Carter Page.

But the sources warned that although the evidence taken together suggests that the Trump campaign might have coordinated with Russian operatives, FBI investigators have not obtained conclusive evidence, and investigations are ongoing.

Until now, there has been no public acknowledgement from United States lawmakers or the intelligence community of concrete evidence tying Trump or his associates to collusion with the Kremlin. Some Russian officials have also changed their methods of communications, making monitoring more hard, the officials said. But there's been no formal evidence offered of ties between Clinton and the Russians.

He knows what this investigation, which started last summer, could look like.

  • Leroy Wright