LOS ANGELES TIMES: After more than five hours of testimony by FBI Director James B. Comey and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers to a House committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, we can point to five key takeaways. Most of it is bad news for the Trump administration.
1) Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that not only was the FBI investigating Russian interference in the campaign but he also dropped this bombshell: FBI agents are probing potential “coordination” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. This investigation could lead to criminal charges.
Comey’s exact statement (emphasis added):
“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 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. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”
2) There was no wiretapping of Trump Tower by President Obama or anyone else. On March 4, Trump tweeted explosive accusations that his predecessor had ordered wiretapping of his phones in Trump Tower.
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Comey refuted the claims in this way:
“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,” Comey testified. “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. The department has no information that supports those tweets.” He later pointed out that no president has the authority to order a wiretap. It requires a warrant from a special panel of judges. MORE