FBI: Rus­sian links un­der probe

Pos­si­ble Moscow con­nec­tion with Trump as­so­ci­ates be­ing in­ves­ti­gated

The Star Malaysia - - World -

WASH­ING­TON: FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey con­firmed that the bureau is in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble links and co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Rus­sia and as­so­ci­ates of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as part of a broader probe of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The ex­tra­or­di­nary rev­e­la­tion, and the first pub­lic con­fir­ma­tion of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that be­gan last sum­mer, came yes­ter­day at the out­set of Comey’s open­ing state­ment in a con­gres­sional hear­ing ex­am­in­ing Rus­sian med­dling and pos­si­ble con­nec­tions be­tween Moscow and Trump’s cam­paign.

He ac­knowl­edged that the FBI does not or­di­nar­ily dis­cuss on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, but said was au­tho­rised to do so given the ex­treme pub­lic in­ter­est in this case.

“This work is very com­plex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable for when it will be done,” Comey told the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.

Un­der ques­tion­ing from the com­mit­tee’s top Demo­crat, Rep Adam Schiff, he also pub­licly con­tra­dicted a se­ries of tweets from Trump that de­clared the Repub­li­can can­di­date’s phones had been or­dered tapped by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama dur­ing the cam­paign.

“I have no con­fir­ma­tion that sup­ports those tweets, and we have looked care­fully in­side the FBI,” Comey said.

The same was true, he added, of the Jus­tice De­part­ment.

He also dis­puted al­le­ga­tions that Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence ser­vices were in­volved in the wire­tap­ping.

Comey was the lat­est gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial to re­ject Trump’s claims, made with­out any ev­i­dence, that Obama had wire­tapped his New York sky­scraper dur­ing the cam­paign.

Rep Devin Nunes, a Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can and chair­man of the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, also re­jected it ear­lier in the hear­ing.

Comey was tes­ti­fy­ing along with Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency Di­rec­tor Michael Rogers.

Trump took to Twit­ter be­fore the hear­ing be­gan, ac­cus­ing Democrats of mak­ing up al­le­ga­tions about his cam­paign as­so­ci­ates’ con­tact with Rus­sia dur­ing the elec­tion.

He said Congress and the FBI should be go­ing af­ter me­dia leaks and maybe even Hil­lary Clin­ton in­stead.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and oth­ers should be look­ing into is the leak­ing of Clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion. Must find leaker now!” Trump tweeted early yes­ter­day as news cov­er­age on the Rus­sia al­le­ga­tions dom­i­nated the morn­ing’s ca­ble news.

Trump also sug­gested, with­out ev­i­dence, that Clin­ton’s cam­paign was in con­tact with Rus­sia and had pos­si­bly thwarted a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

US in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials have not pub­licly raised the pos­si­bil­ity of con­tacts be­tween the Clin­tons and Moscow.

Of­fi­cials in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter have said they be­lieve Moscow had hacked into Democrats’ com­put­ers in a bid to help Trump’s elec­tion bid. — AP

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