On Monday morning, FBI Director James Comey testified before a House Intelligence Committee hearing into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
At 11:03 a.m. Comey addressed allegations made by President Donald Trump on March 4 that then-President Barack Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower in 2016. In the aftermath of Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations, Comey had urged the Justice Department to disavow Trump’s loaded accusation.
At 11:03 a.m., Comey said he has no information that supports the claims made in the tweets posted by President Trump which asserted that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
Comey’s response was direct and succinct:
With respect to the President’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets. And we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all of its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.
Comey also confirmed that the FBI is indeed investigating potential ties between President Trump’s 2016 election campaign and the Kremlin. The bureau is additionally investigating Russian interference into the 2016 election in general. He did not offer details of the scope of the investigation. Even so, the disclosure was an atypical step for the FBI, which typically does not comment on or confirm the existence of ongoing investigations.
“The FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and 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,” Comey said.