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Congress awaits FBI, NSA testimony on Russia-Trump links

20 March 2017

In a major moment of Trump's presidency, Comey confirmed that there is an active investigation into whether there are "any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign" and Russians who meddled in the US election.

"Because it is an open, ongoing investigation and is classified, I can not say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining", Comey said.

Firstly, James Comey had just confirmed federal agents were looking at possible collusion between Russian Federation and Mr Trump's campaign, and if "crimes" had been committed as a result. Comey said no evidence of coordination was included in the assessment released by the intelligence community in January because the FBI's investigation was not finished.

"I know that is extremely frustrating to some folks, but it is the way it has to be for reasons that I hope you and the American people can understand", he said.

"We have looked carefully inside the FBI" for evidence of an Obama wiretapping campaign against Trump and found nothing, Comey added.

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The hearing, which also features testimony from National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, could shed light on the state of FBI investigations into the extent of Russian meddling in the election campaign.

Cavuto said that surveilling Flynn is one thing, but he pressed Paul if Trump himself was tapped.

Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) kicked off the hearing saying that Russian interference in the election "comes as no shock to this committee" but remains "deeply troubling".

"The real story that Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information".

However, Mr Schiff said the material offers circumstantial evidence that United States citizens collaborated with Russians to influence the vote. But at Mr. Sessions' Senate confirmation hearing, he claimed he was "not aware" if anyone from Mr. Trump's campaign had any contact with the Russians.

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Trump and aides have also denied any connection to Russians who sought to hack Democratic officials during last year's election and said opponents are leaking derogatory information against them as part of a "witch hunt" to undermine the presidency. Clinton has blamed Comey's decision for her election loss.

The Justice Department's disclosure Friday that it had complied with congressional demands for information regarding Trump's wiretapping tweets could allow Comey to avoid questioning by simply saying that the lawmakers already have the information they requested. Trump tweeted March 4 that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped Trump Tower before the election.

Al Jazeera's White House Editor James Bay, reporting from Washington DC, said the statement by the intelligence officials are "embarrassing" to the Trump administration. He told reporters in 2011 that leaders of the opposition tried to undermine him "with the support of the USA state department began active work".

"I also think in addition to that circumstantial evidence, there's very direct evidence of collusion", he said.

USA intelligence agencies are confident that Russian Federation directed hacks into the Democratic National Committee and campaign officials for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

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Rep. Trey Gowdy used the House Intelligence Hearing Monday to accuse Obama administration officials, including the former president, of leaking classified information with no proof. They said they don't know one way or the other if that interference actually did affect public opinion or the outcome of the election.

Congress awaits FBI, NSA testimony on Russia-Trump links