Comey Confirms FBI Probe into Possible Russian-Trump Ties

Director Also Says FBI Found No Information Confirming Trump's Claim Obama Wiretapped Him
Comey Confirms FBI Probe into Possible Russian-Trump Ties
FBI Director James Comey testifies before House Intelligence Committee.

The FBI is investigating possible ties between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russian attempts to sway the U.S. election, FBI Director James Comey says.

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Testifying at a March 20 hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey also said the FBI has no evidence to back up Trump's claim that then President Barack Obama directed the wiretapping of Trump Tower. "With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information to support those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," he said.

Comey said the Department of Justice authorized him to say DoJ has no information to support those tweets, either.

In his testimony, Comey said it's unusual for the FBI to comment on whether it's conducting any investigation, except in rare circumstances when it's in the public interest. "This is one of those circumstances," he said.

Comey said the Justice Department approved the FBI conducting a wide-ranging counterintelligence probe into Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election that includes investigating any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, whether any coordination occurred between the campaign and Russia's efforts and whether any crimes were committed.

"Because it is an open, ongoing investigation, and is classified, I cannot say more on what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining," he said.

Comey said, however, that the FBI has taken the "extraordinary step" of briefing congressional and intelligence committee leaders on details of the investigation in a classified setting.

Rogers: GCHQ Didn't Spy on Trump

Navy Adm. Michael Rogers, the National Security Agency director, testified that he had no knowledge of any U.S. officials asking British or other ally intelligence agencies to surveil Trump (see Britain's GCHQ Rebuts 'Ridiculous' Trump 'Wiretap' Claims). "I've seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in such activity, nor that anyone engaged in such activity," Rogers said, denying that British intelligence spied on Trump on behalf of Obama.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, at a press briefing last week, cited a Fox News analyst who suggested the Obama administration had asked GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, to spy on Trump or his allies. At a press conference March 17 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump didn't back off from the claim, but noted he was merely quoting the Fox News pundit.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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