Comey: FBI investigating ties between Russia, Trump associates

At a hearing in January, Comey refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russian Federation, consistent with the FBI's longstanding policy of not publicly discussing its work.

"The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election".

When asked whether, in light of the recently announced FBI investigation into the matter, Trump stood by his comments that he's not aware of any contacts that his campaign associates had with Russian Federation during the election, Comey said he does.

The U.S. intelligence community has accused Moscow of trying to influence the election, saying it initially wanted to derail then-candidate Hillary Clinton and then developed a preference for Trump.

Comey's remarks before the House Intelligence Committee created a treacherous political moment for Trump, who has insisted that "Russia is fake news" that was cooked up by his political opponents to undermine his presidency. Their tactics were to try to keep the focus of their questions on the leaks of classified information from the investigation, speculating on which Obama administration officials could have been responsible, and even raising the possibility of prosecuting journalists for publishing the leaks.

Mr Sessions denied any wrongdoing, but removed himself from an Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into Russia's alleged interference in the election.

Comey also dismissed Trump's claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor during the campaign, a sensational but unfounded accusation that has served as a distraction in the public debate over Russian election interference. Republicans noted there is no evidence connecting the Trump campaign to the Russian government, but Democratic members of the committee tried to connect the dots.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, pushed back Sunday against that assertion on NBC's Meet The Press. Officials investigating the matter have said they believe Moscow had hacked into Democrats' computers in a bid to help Trump's election bid. While Trump used the term "wire tapping", he and his aides say that now refers to "surveillance" in general. Schiff said. "Yes, it is possible, but is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected, and not unrelated".

March 20, 2017Bernstein's tweet comes after a Republican congressman lashed out at leaks to the media during FBI Director James Comey's testimony on Monday about Russia's interference in the presidential election.

But he added, in opening comments to a House Intelligence Committee hearing looking at the matter, that "because it is an open ongoing investigation and is classified, I can not say more".

Mr Nunes said on Sunday that based on "everything I have up to this morning" there is "no evidence" that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

That is the fundamental fact that was confirmed by James Comey at Monday's intelligence committee. Nunes told Fox News that he saw no information to show collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

United States intelligence agencies concluded in January that the President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation personally ordered a covert effort to hurt Hillary Clinton's chances and aid Trump. His first National Security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned last month following revelations that he misled White House officials about whether he discussed sanctions on Russia in conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the USA, before Trump took office. The Obama administration brought those sanctions in response to the alleged meddling.

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