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Comey confirms FBI probe into alleged Russian interference in US election

FBI director James Comey on Monday confirmed the agency was investigating possible Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 US election

20 March 2017, 4:18pm
FBI director James Comey told a congressional hearing on Russian activities that the probe 'includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government'
FBI director James Comey told a congressional hearing on Russian activities that the probe 'includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government'
FBI director James Comey today confirmed that the agency is probing Russian meddling into the 2016 US election, including any potential links between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

“The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Comey told 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."

Comey's disclosure confirmed longstanding reports that the FBI was probing the explosive charges that Trump's stunning election victory over Hillary Clinton last November came on the back of Russian meddling.

US intelligence chiefs said in January they were convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind that effort.

Comey stressed that a determination had not been made and said that the FBI would take the unusual step of updating Congress on the query. He said he knows it is “frustrating” that FBI cannot say more publicly.

"Because it is an open, ongoing investigation and is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining," Comey said, adding: “I know speculating is part of human nature. But it really isn’t fair to draw conclusions [from 'No comment's]."

Earlier, the chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Republican representative Devin Nunes, told the same hearing that the panel had seen no evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign.

However, Adam Schiff, the Democratic vice chair of the committee, detailed a list of alleged links and communications between the Trump team and Russia.

"Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated, and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible," he said. "But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt US persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere."

Russia has denied it attempted to influence the 8 November presidential election by hacking Democratic operatives and releasing sensitive information.

Earlier this month, Trump sparked controversy by alleging that President Barack Obama had ordered the wiretapping of his campaign, without providing any evidence.

Nunes also denied the unsubstantiated claim but said it was possible other surveillance was used against the Republican.

DealToday