FBI Director James Comey on Monday confirmed that there is an active FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential elections, which includes any links between the Russian government and Trump campaign officials.
Comey said the FBI investigation “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.”
It was the first time he confirmed that the FBI was investigating possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.
However, it was not a confirmation of those links, or any wrongdoing.
The remarks came during a highly publicized House intelligence committee hearing, amid accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential elections.
Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said the committee so far has seen no evidence to date that any Trump officials conspired with Russian agents.
“Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said publicly that he’s seen no evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign,” he said.
“And I can say that the Committee, too, has seen no evidence to date that officials from any campaign conspired with Russian agents. However, we will continue to investigate this question,” Nunes said in his opening statement.
During the hearing, Republicans focused on illegal leaks by intelligence officials to the news media on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Democrats focused on Trump’s tweets that said President Obama illegally wiretapped Trump Tower.
Republicans questioned Comey and NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers how it came about the identity of Flynn was unmasked during his calls with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and leaked to the news media, as well as the contents of those calls.
Under questioning from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on how reporters would have gotten that kind of information, Comey responded, “Someone told them that shouldn’t have told them…in an illegitimate way.”
Comey would not confirm whether the leaks were also part of the FBI investigation, saying that doing so would confirm that the information leaked was classified.
Meanwhile, the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) questioned Comey whether he has found any evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping claims, despite the administration arguing that those comments were in reference to surveillance activities in general.
Comey said the FBI has not found any evidence to support Trump’s tweet.
“I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully within the FBI,” he said.
Nunes last week suggested that Trump was not being literal when he tweeted that assertion.
In his opening remarks at Monday’s hearing, Nunes said although there’s been no evidence found to support Trump’s tweet, it was still possible Trump was being surveilled in other ways.
“Let me be clear: we know there was not a wiretap on Trump Tower. However, it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates,” he said.