The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed on Monday that the agency is probing Russian meddling into the US election, including any potential links between the Trump campaign and the country’s government.
“The FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” James Comey told the House intelligence committee.
“That 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.”
Mr Comey stressed that a determination had not been made and said that the FBI would take the unusual step of updating Congress on the query. He said he knows it is “frustrating” that FBI can’t say more publicly, adding, “I know speculating is part of human nature. But it really isn’t fair to draw conclusions [from 'No comment's]“.
The FBI also has “no information that supports” tweets from Donald Trump accusing Barack Obama of wiretapping his campaign, throwing cold water on the dramatic claim.
Mr Comey said he concluded that there was no evidence to support the allegation, having “looked carefully” at the matter.
Mr Trump said on Twitter earlier this month that Mr Obama had tapped his phones during the “very sacred election process … this is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
National Security Agency director Michael Rogers also categorically denied the claim from a Fox News contributor, which was echoed by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that the UK intelligence service had executed the wiretap on Mr Trump.
“It would be expressly against the construction of the five eyes agreement that has been in place for decades,” he added.