Comey says FBI investigating Russia interference
WASHINGTON - FBI Director James Comey is publicly confirming for the first time that the FBI is investigating Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including any potential coordination between Trump campaign associates and Russia's government.
Comey is testifying before Congress. He says he's authorized by the Justice Department to make the disclosure. Typically, the FBI does not discuss or even confirm the existence of ongoing investigations.
Comey says the probe is part of the FBI's counter-intelligence mission. He says the investigation includes the nature of any links between individuals associated with Trump's campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between Russia's efforts and the campaign.
Comey says the investigation will also look at whether crimes were committed. He says he can't provide details about the investigation.
Comey says the FBI and Justice Department have no information to substantiate President Donald Trump's claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him before the election.
Comey says no individual can order surveillance of an American. He says courts grant this permission after a rigorous application process.
Comey said the Justice Department also asked him to share with the committee that the answer also applies to the Justice Department and its various components. The Justice Department oversees the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, is denying that the British intelligence community was ever asked to conduct electronic surveillance on President Donald Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama.
Earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred to unsubstantiated allegations made by a Fox News analyst that GCHQ, the British electronic intelligence agency, had helped Obama wiretap Trump. The British intelligence agency flatly denied it happened.
The ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, asked Rogers if he thought it was "utterly ridiculous" that anyone in the U.S. would ask British spies to do surveillance on a presidential candidate. Rogers said it was and added that he had seen nothing at the NSA that would indicate that happened.