The White House refused to back down Monday following FBI Director James Comey’s confirmation that the bureau is investigating possible links between President Trump’s associates and the Russian government, and his assertion that former President Obama did not wiretap Trump.
Pushing back, Press Secretary Sean Spicer contended that there was “no evidence” of collusion with Russia, and that Trump stands behind his wiretapping allegation.
The standoff followed an all-day House intelligence committee hearing in which testimony was heard from Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers. Comey confirmed for the first time in the hearings that the FBI is investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as Trump’s team’s connections to the Russians.
Trump weighed in on Twitter while Spicer claimed that “nothing has changed” regarding either issue.
“Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm that there’s no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion … and we take them at their word,” Spicer said.
Spicer also said that although the FBI is conducting a probe into the influence of Russia on the 2016 campaign, “there is no evidence, according to the people that have been briefed, of any collusion or activity that leads them to believe that that exists.”
He continued by saying, “My point to you is that, despite the narrative that gets played over and over again with respect to what the investigation might mean, in terms of collusion, every person, Republican and Democrat, that has been briefed on it has come to the same conclusion, that there is no collusion and that that’s over.”
Spicer noted that neither a withdrawal nor an apology would be coming from Trump for his allegations against Obama.
“This is one in a series of hearings that will be happening,” Spicer said. “There’s a lot of areas that still need to be covered.”
Comey did not reveal any details about what might have been uncovered or dismissed in the bureau’s Russia investigation, claiming he could offer no further comment since the inquiry is “open” and “ongoing.”
The FBI director asserted that the bureau does not normally confirm ongoing investigations, yet he claimed he could make an exception for such “unusual” circumstances.
“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Comey said. “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 added that the investigation will “include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”
The White House quickly took to Twitter using the official @POTUS account, posting a quote from the hearing where Rogers and Comey assert that they have no evidence that Russian hackers changed the vote count in swing states in the 2016 election.
The tweet read, “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.”
The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process. pic.twitter.com/d9HqkxYBt5
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 20, 2017
H/T: Fox News
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