In the start of Congressional hearings on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, FBI Director James Comey publicly confirmed for the first time that a federal investigation is underway into any Russian actions, and that the investigation is also looking at possible links to associates of President Donald Trump and his campaign.
“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counter-intelligence mission, is investigating the Russian Government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election,” the FBI Director said.
“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,” Comey added.
It was the FBI Director’s first public comments about the matter since President Trump tweeted on March 4 that he had been wiretapped, a charge that the White House had never backed up with any evidence.
Top lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee began the hearing by once more knocking down that charge from Mr. Trump.
“I have been saying this for several weeks, we know there was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower. However, it is still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), leaving open the possibility of a broader investigation related to Russia.
“We have also reviewed whether there is any evidence to support President Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama in Trump Tower, and finds no evidence to support that slanderous accusation,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (R-CA), the top Democrat on the intelligence panel.
As for the President, he began his day with a series of tweets that raised questions about the investigation.