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FBI, NSA set to break silence on Donald Trump, Russia

20 March 2017

In follow-up tweets, the president claimed Democrats "made up and pushed the Russian story" to explain Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's loss in the presidential election, and called on Congress and the U.S. intelligence community to look into classified-information leaks.

Was there any engineering of the work by the Russians to undermine the election of Hillary Clinton?

Mr Trump has branded suggestions that he or associates on his campaign had contact with Russian intelligence as "fake news".

The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks subsequently released thousands of emails from the files of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta in the month before the election, showing embarrassing, behind-the-scenes efforts of Democratic operatives to help Clinton win the party's presidential nomination. Comey and Rogers deflected many questions about specific parts of the probe or surveillance activities, saying they could not publicly discuss sensitive information.

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Trump offered his latest commentary on his upset win last November just hours before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee began hearing testimony from two key US officials about the USA intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation meddled in the election to help him win and whether there is any truth to his explosive, but unsubstantiated claim that Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower headquarters in NY in the weeks before the election. However, he expressed concerns about "possible other surveillance methods" of Trump associates and the leaking of potentially classified information.

The panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, told NBC's Meet The Press that Trump's wiretapping claims are "patently false, and the wrecking ball it created now has banged into" USA allies, including Germany and Great Britain in recent days. He added that "we do not yet know" if Russian Federation had any help from American citizens, including Trump associates, as it allegedly waged the influence campaign. He's laid out a number of what he says are questions about contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian Federation and the question he wants to know is, was there any collusion?

Rooney then asked Rogers about the 702 program, which is used to surveil foreign entities and people and had aspects of it leaked to the press. Trump has also deflected attention to the release of information, saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation should focus on investigating that.

Comey's reason to Congress at the time was that he wanted to avoid accusations of a coverup, should more information get leaked, but Democrats saw it as a deliberate act of sabotage of their candidate's chances by the country's top law enforcer. But amid a furor over whether Moscow tried to influence the 2016 presidential race on Trump's behalf, lawmakers said they would make public as much of their probes as possible.

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The top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee differed in public statements on the evidence of collusion Sunday. Nunes told Fox News that he saw no information to show collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

And again, that's another political point that the President and his allies on Capitol Hill want to press, it's not something that the NSA director can really address and he said I'm really not the guy to talk about this.

Adding to the intrigue, Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions has removed himself from any Russia-related investigations after it was learned that he had met twice with the Russian ambassador in the months before Trump took office.

Later in the morning, NBC brought on supposedly neutral analyst Jeremy Bash, who worked as an Obama administration official with Leon Panetta at the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense.

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FBI, NSA set to break silence on Donald Trump, Russia