Washington – FBI Director James Comey said on Monday the bureau was investigating possible ties between Russia and officials from Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“I’ve 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,” Comey said in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
“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,” he added.
Comey stressed that not only Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to lose the election, but he also sought the Trump’s victory.
He also noted that while the Russian government wanted to hurt Clinton’s campaign and help Trump’s, intelligence agencies made no judgment on whether the efforts have concretely influenced the outcome.
“I think that was a fairly easy judgment for the (intelligence) community,” he said. “Putin hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was he had a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much,” he added.
The FBI chief, along with the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Mike Rogers, confirmed that that their investigation of Moscow and November’s US elections could last months.
Addressing the congressional panel, the two officials noted that the FBI has been investigating since July, possible Russian efforts to interfere in the presidential elections.
Comey also challenged Trump’s previous claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his 2016 campaign headquarters in Manhattan’s Trump Tower.
In March, Trump sparked controversy when he said he had evidence that Obama had wiretapped his campaign against Clinton.
“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,” Comey said.