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We're probing ties between Trump team, Russian hackers

20 March 2017

"However, it's still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates".

Republicans made similar allegations on Capitol Hill, using their questions to Comey as a way to criticise the news coverage about the Russian Federation investigation and chastise government officials who speak anonymously to journalists.

On the other hand, Comey's confirmation of an extraordinary inquiry into collusion has only come more than four months after the election and almost two months after Trump took office.

Comey was the latest government official to reject Trump's claims, made without any evidence, that Obama had wiretapped his NY skyscraper during the campaign. The FBI determined Russians were behind the cyberattacks in December, in an attempt to "hurt our democracy", Comey said. The FBI is looking into "the nature of any links" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, he said. "Must find leaker now!" the President wrote. But he also made calls to reporters as the White House tried to dispute allegations about campaign contacts with Russian Federation. With gritted teeth, he said that would violate the agreement between the so-called "Five Eyes" intelligence agencies - the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand - not to spy on each other's citizens.

Mr Flynn was sacked last month after he misled the White House about his conversations with the Russian ambassador before he was appointed national security adviser.

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Nunes' statements may make him a new target for the anti-Trump section of the United States establishment as the latest round to unravel the "Russian election meddling" saga unfolds, a former MI5 intelligence officer Anny Machon told RT. "We know there was not a wiretap on Trump Tower".

Nunes also said Monday that there is "no evidence to date that officials from any campaign conspired with Russian agents".

Comey also said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had "no information" to support Trump's assertions that former President Obama wiretapped him.

The 2016 presidential campaign won't be the last time Russians interfere with an election, Comey warned.

Ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., also stressed in his statement that he has seen no evidence to back the accusation, calling it "slanderous". "But we've been doing this - this investigation began in late July". "They're also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe", he said on "Fox News Sunday".

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The Senate intelligence committee will hold an open hearing on Russian efforts to influence campaigns more generally, on March 30.

But he added, in opening comments to a House Intelligence Committee hearing looking at the matter, that "because it is an open ongoing investigation and is classified, I can not say more". Comey has previously refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russian Federation, as the Bureau does not publicly discuss its work.

"The Democrats have been very much backing this idea that's come out of the Central Intelligence Agency that there is this incredibly close linkage between the Trump camp and the Kremlin", Machon told RT.

"I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI", Comey said.

Both Comey and Rogers reiterated that Russian meddling did not effect any vote tallies in the 2016 election, the same determination that was also made in the January 6 report, which unequivocally stated, "The types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying".

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We're probing ties between Trump team, Russian hackers