March 23, 2017

In day of testimony, 'Russia problem' deepens for Trump White House

21 March 2017, 02:31 | Darnell Patrick

Tom Williams via Getty Images Nunes right on Wednesday announcing that the House Intelligence Committee had no evidence to support Trump's claim

Tom Williams via Getty Images
Nunes right on Wednesday announcing that the House Intelligence Committee had no evidence to support Trump's claim

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said the White House "in denial" over President Trump's unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaDem rep: White House in denial over Trump wiretap claims For Democrats, no clear leader Fox News pulls Napolitano after his Trump wiretap claims MORE wiretapped Trump Tower.

Rogers and Comey both testified that despite the intense Russian hacking and propaganda effort aimed at public opinion, no actual votes in the election were compromised. "The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components".

Comey also said that it would be impossible for any president to order a wiretapping operation against anyone.

Conway, who met with House Republican whips on Capitol Hill earlier Monday, said that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence "did not delegate or abdicate the details [of the health care bill] to anyone else".

Admiral Rogers agreed, saying that no members of the NSA had been involved in any such shenanigans, and he hadn't seen evidence of such surveillance.

US investigators say Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking into the computers at the Democratic National Committee.

Indeed, when later asked about the presidential tweet, Comey said that it did not reflect what they had said: "It certainly wasn't our intention to say that today". However, in this case, he was authorized to confirm that his staff was investigating the swirling claims, but that he wasn't willing to talk about specifics - saying he understood that would be frustrating for Congress.

"I can not say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining". Obama's Director of National Intelligence said so.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who oversees the Justice Department and was a staunch Trump supporter during the presidential campaign, said last week he never gave the president any reason to believe he was wiretapped in the weeks before the November election.

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While no evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians was confirmed or proffered Monday, Democrats repeatedly returned to the topic, asking Comey and Rogers several series of questions they for the most part could not comment on.

He added that Department of Justice officials asked him to inform the committee that they had also reached the same conclusion about the Trump tweets.

In an unusual declassified report released in January, the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency had previously announced that they had "high confidence" that "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election" and that "Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump".

The methods of disseminating information gleaned from the hackers were surreptitious according to Comey, and the Russians used WikiLeaks to get plausible deniability for the source of the information. "We take them at their word".

"Their number one mission is to undermine the credibility of the entire democracy enterprise, of this nation".

Comey noted that the FBI began its investigation in June 2016 but didn't make any public disclosures "due to the sensitivity of the matter". "It is fair to ask why Jim Comey confirmed one investigation prior to the election, but not the other". "The real story that Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information".

The FBI warned the Democratic National Committee long before they were publicly victims of a massive hack that divulged embarrassing emails on the eve of the party's convention.

"I think there's a difference between talking about an investigation into the 2016 election, which we all know, and any evidence of collusion".

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