Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey on Monday confirmed that the agency was investigating reports of possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election campaign. He informed the House Intelligence Committee that they were looking into potential links between Donald Trump’s campaign associates and the Russian government, reported The Washington Post.
Comey, however, denied the US president’s allegations that former head of state Barack Obama had wire-tapped his New York City Trump Tower during his campaign days. “I have no information that supports those tweets,’’ he said, referring to the claims Trump made on Twitter, without providing evidence, on March 4.
It was for the first time on Monday that the FBI chief and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers spoke publicly about the two subjects. They were testifying at the House Intelligence Committee’s first public hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign.
On Russian interference, an intelligence report had claimed that President Vladimir Putin had tried to help Trump win the presidential elections. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which had prepared the report, had said that Putin had ordered an “influence campaign” to “undermine public faith” in democracy and disparage Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton so voters would see her as the poorer choice.
In January, US intelligence agencies had said they believe Russian hackers had accessed the accounts of senior Democrats and released Clinton’s emails to help Trump.
Not long before the trials began, the US president alleged that Democrats had conjured the Russian meddling story to make up for a poor election campaign. “[Former National Intelligence Director] James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is fake news and everyone knows it!,” Trump tweeted.