Comey: no evidence supporting Trump’s wiretap accusations

FBI Director James Comey has just appeared before the House Intelligence Committee.

On Donald Trump’s tweeted accusations that then-President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the presidential election campaign:

“I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI”.

He also said that that the Justice Department had also looked for evidence to support Trump’s  allegation and couldn’t find any.

And the Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers strongly denied allegations repeated by the Trump administration that he’d asked GCHQ to spy on Mr Trump.

Comey declined to say whether the FBI was investigating the potential leak of classified information related to now resigned National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, but said that such a leak would be taken very seriously.

Comey  confirmed that the FBI was investigating if Russia had meddled in the presidential election, including investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The official presidential Twitter account responded:

BBC Live: FBI: No evidence Obama wiretapped Trump

Summary

  1. FBI director Comey confirms investigation into alleged Russian meddling in US election and any Trump links
  2. The law enforcement chief says there is no evidence to support Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped Trump
  3. The Trump administration says ‘nothing has changed’ and ‘there is NO EVIDENCE of Trump-Russia collusion’
  4. The NSA’s head strongly denies Trump administration claims that he asked Britain’s GCHQ to spy on Trump
  5. Democrats and Republicans, meanwhile, trade barbs at Senate hearing on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI was investigating any possible co-ordination between the Trump campaign and Russia’s alleged efforts to influence the election outcome.

US intelligence chiefs have previously said only that they believed Russia aimed to favour Donald Trump’s candidacy.

Comey also said neither the FBI nor the Department of Justice had evidence to support Trump’s claims that his predecessor Barack Obama wiretapped his phones ahead of the election.

And the Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers strongly denied allegations repeated by the Trump administration that he’d asked GCHQ to spy on Mr Trump.

Rogers said that would violate both US law and international spy agreements.

Chris Wallace at Fox News:

Wallace said it was “pretty startling” to hear the FBI director confirm that the Trump campaign – including President Trump – is under FBI investigation.

He added that Comey also said that the FBI has “no information” to support Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration during the presidential campaign.

“It’s been a bad day for the Trump White House,” Wallace said.

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60 Comments

  1. David

     /  March 21, 2017

    good to hear there is no collusion between the Trump campaign an Russia, hearings have a way to go yet.
    No mention of why the DNC refused the FBI,s assistance on several occassions to find the hackers, bit suspiciousnand needs answers on what they were worried about.

    • I haven’t seen reports of “no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia”.

      FBI Director James Comey, in an extraordinary House hearing meant to clear the air on a host of allegations relating to the 2016 campaign, confirmed publicly for the first time Monday that the bureau is probing Russian meddling in the race including possible “links” to the Trump team – while disputing the president’s claim that his predecessor wiretapped him.

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/20/comey-confirms-fbi-probing-russia-trump-team-links-disputes-wiretap-claim.html

      Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating links.

      • Nelly Smickers

         /  March 21, 2017

        David is actually *correct* on this PG…….have you not seen the latest tweet from the *POTUS* himself ❓

        • I tend to believe Comey over proven conspiracy theory propagators Trump and Stephen Bannon.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  March 21, 2017

          a risible attempt to deflect attention. What a frickin’ joke this POTUS is.

      • Gezza

         /  March 21, 2017

        I watched about an hour of it live early this morning. Both Comey & Rogers made it clear the process for getting approval to wiretap someone in the US involves a number of senior individuals in different agencies & the final decision has to be made by a judge. There is no possibility a President can simply order a wiretap as Obama is alleged to have done. He does not have the authority. Fascinating stuff. Both agreed whoever on the inside has leaked details about Flynn’s conversations with Russians has broken the law & should be prosecuted when found.

        • Gezza

           /  March 21, 2017

          * Not Rogers, Adm Roberts, NSA Director.

          • Gezza

             /  March 21, 2017

            Oops, correction, 😳. It IS Rogers. My bad. He’s a very credible professional.

            • Pete Kane

               /  March 21, 2017

              Because he’s a Roger not a Robert?

            • Gezza

               /  March 21, 2017

              No because he’s a military man. So tends to be brief, sound honest, be factual. Yes Sir, No Sir. Only says what he can authoritatively speak about. Just comes across very well, sounds straight as a ruler, loyal to the country & the role his organisation has. Comey, by comparison, by earlier going public with the investigation into the Clinton emails investigation, has sort of compromised himself as to his professionalism, or at least raised questions about his credibility.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  March 21, 2017

          Meanwhile the lying POTUS is tweeting furiously that the more important issue is catching the leaker(s)…

          so what’s more important? Russian intervention in the US elections? or the whistle-blowers who have exposed some of this?

          Hunting down the whistle-blowers is simply another perversion of the office of President.

          • Gezza

             /  March 21, 2017

            Rep Gowdy was trying to get Comey to say he would prosecute the newspapers for publishing the leaks … or it might have been for not disclosing the identities of the leakers … as are these not breaches of national security & therefore criminal acts? Comey said it was a D o J matter to make that call but similar attempts to prosecute media for this in the past had all been rejected by Judges.

            • Gezza

               /  March 21, 2017

              The NYT had a live link up but it seems to be gone now so maybe the hearings are over or breaking for din-dins. Haven’t got time to watch it all anyway but it’s fascinating stuff.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  March 21, 2017

              So which is the bigger breach of national security?

              The trump administration, with its apparent secret deals with Russia? And its lies? And its cover-ups? Or the whistle-blowers who leak details to the public so that they can’t be swept conveniently under a rug?

              For example, Flynn’s lies about his meetings with Kislyak were a far more substantive risk to national security, than the leaks that revealed them. Yet the cultists seem obsessed with muzzling the people who spoke out about Flynn’s many deceits, and inclined to overlook Flynn’s far more damaging behaviours.

              Gowdy is staggeringly hypocritical at the best of times. Take his loud demands that Clinton release all her emails, whilst ignoring:
              – Jeb Bush who personally chose which of his emails he deemed “state business” when he did his email dump
              – Marco Rubio who used a private email account when he was speaker of the Florida House and admitted he deleted them
              – Scott Walker who was caught using a personal email account as the governor of Wisconsin
              – and Rick Perry who used a private email account during his tenure as governor of Texas.

              All the time Gowdy was operating his own private email server for his “info@treygowdy.com” and giving that address out as an official point of contact.

              This is just more of the same – GOP hypocrisy and misdirection

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 21, 2017

              No evidence doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. The two are not the same thing at all.

              If I was wrongly accused, I would say that I didn’t do it, not that there was no evidence.

  2. Joe Bloggs

     /  March 21, 2017

    From the WaPo

    Comey’s statement was not surprising, but it was nevertheless devastating. To hear the head of the FBI in essence call the president a liar or wide-eyed conspiratorialist is bracing, if not humiliating, for the chief executive. And reflecting on the morning tweet, Trump now seems desperate, childish and vulnerable.

    He’s been tripped up by his own grandiose lies. At some level he must know it.

    Perhaps now Republicans can stop treating the president’s outbursts seriously. They need to call them what they are: Wild lies and accusations designed to distract from the very real investigation into Russian attempts to throw the election his way.

    Take heed trump cultists.

    • duperez

       /  March 21, 2017

      Cultists will have the final answer:
      A President who is a liar, a wide-eyed conspiratorialist, is humiliated, desperate, childish and vulnerable is nevertheless the President.
      (They won’t admit to any of those things mind you, just reiterate the last little significant bit.)

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 21, 2017

        He’s like the little boy who goes on saying that he didn’t eat the biscuits, even though there are crumbs on his clothes that show that he did.

  3. Zedd

     /  March 21, 2017

    seriously.. how can anybody believe Mr T lives in the ‘real world’.. he’s totally living on ‘Fantasy Island’ OR maybe in ‘the matrix’ & trying to take the rest with him.. ‘NO THX !!” 😀 😦

  4. Joe Bloggs

     /  March 21, 2017

    In the case of trump and the russians, the phrase that comes to mind is “where there’s smoke there’s fire”. Seems that the FBI agrees:

    Comey’s appearance, flanked by the NSA director, Adm Michael Rogers, marked a remarkable and unprecedented threshold in US political history, putting beyond doubt that a sitting’s president’s entourage was under investigation for possibly conniving with a foreign adversary to put that president in power.

    What made the moment even more extraordinary was Trump’s tweeted commentary on – and misrepresenting of – the hearing as it was happening.

    Comey and Rogers refused to answer scores of questions speculating on who in Trump’s orbit could be part of the wide-ranging investigation and spurned countless invitations to comment on news reports. But they made many key points over the course of several extraordinary hours of testimony.

    – The counter-intelligence investigation into Trump-Moscow links began in late July 2016 and is still ongoing
    – More than one person associated with the Trump campaign is under investigation for their ties to the Russian government
    – Both FBI and NSA directors said there was no information to support Trump’s claims that he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration
    – The NSA chief rejected White House suggestions that GCHQ had helped the Obama administration spy on Trump Tower and said the claim was “frustrating to a key ally”
    – The Russian intervention in the election was “unusually loud”, as if Moscow did not care about being caught

    Comey repeatedly stressed the unusual nature of the occasion, which led him to break with longstanding FBI practice of never commenting on ongoing investigations.

    “I have been authorised 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.

    He added: “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.”

    Comey said that the investigation included the possibility that criminal acts had been committed.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/20/fbi-director-comey-confirms-investigation-trump-russia

    #crookeddonny #lyingPOTUS

  5. Joe Bloggs

     /  March 21, 2017

    Less than forty minutes into the hearing, James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., provided the latest official confirmation that the “Russian story” is not “FAKE NEWS.” It is, rather, the most serious legal scandal to confront a sitting President in nearly two decades.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-trump-campaign-has-been-under-investigation-since-july

    So that would be just a tad more serious perhaps than Clinton’s use of a private email server?

    And yet Comey trumpeted Clinton’s investigation loud and strong 11 days before the election, while all the time he was silent about a more serious legal scandal involving another candidate.

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 21, 2017

    Taking Trump seriously but not literally:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-03-15/trump-s-wiretap-claims-are-bogus-but-he-s-still-onto-something

    Funny how the media wets its pants over Trump’s literally false accusation and ignores actual law-breaking by Obama’s old mates and supporters.

    • Gezza

       /  March 21, 2017

      But hang on, how do you know they’re Obama’s mates & supporters?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 21, 2017

        They wouldn’t be risking jail to try to take down Trump otherwise.

        • artcroft

           /  March 21, 2017

          Phffft! you’re just engaging in mis-direction and “look over there’ tactics Alan. The FBI has been investigating Trump for collusion with the Russians since July. If these charges had been made against Hilary, the Republicans would already be calling for their supporters to arm themselves and march on Washington. Trump has to go.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 21, 2017

            Drivel on all fronts, artcroft. First there is no evidence of Russian collusion by Trump. Second there is a lot of evidence of violation of laws in divulging anti-Trump intelligence to media.

            • Nelly Smickers

               /  March 21, 2017

              MASA 😄

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  March 21, 2017

              drivel on all fronts Alan…

              The whole world:
              – revelations the FBI is investigating Russian interference in US elections
              – false wire-tap allegations
              – Flynn’s lies about his Russian connections
              – Russian use of Wikileaks to selectively release hacked material
              – trumpcare that strips 24 million people of healthcover
              – trump’s weekly vacations at Mar A Lago
              – Sessions lies during his senate hearing
              – the installation of political officers to monitor White House staff loyalty
              – et-fricking-cetera

              Alan:
              – look! Look there! Nasty mean lefties, picking on Dear Leader, exposing his sins…mean lefties

              So how much are the Russians paying you to post this stuff Alan?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 21, 2017

              You have your very own fake news generator, Joe. Enjoy, but don’t expect to be taken seriously.

        • Gezza

           /  March 21, 2017

          Well the New York Times wasn’t ignoring it – you’ve posted their article on it. There are Republicans concerned about this issue & supporting an investigation into any connections with Trump numpties who might possibly have been manipulated by Russian intelligence too, aren’t there. Why not wait until the investigation is concluded before jumping to conclusions – the Intelligence Community might be just as likely to have leakers of no particular political affiliation not convinced of the probity of Flynn through what they’ve seen? It’s been made very clear any leakers uncovered will be prosecuted.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 21, 2017

            NYT article was three weeks ago. Meanwhile Gowdy traverses the list of likely Obama suspects:

            http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/03/20/trey_gowdy_grills_comey_who_has_the_power_to_unmask_a_us_citizens_communications.html

            • Gezza

               /  March 21, 2017

              Trump didn’t keep twitting about it, so so what if it’s three weeks old. I watched that exchange happening live – it’s the best way really. Gowdy’s just starting more rumours, throwing out various names inferering the people he named are potential leakers & thus criminals, smearing stuff. He’s possibly a bit anti the Democrats & Obama? As these people would be very obvious suspects it’s very unlikely they would draw attention to themselves by doing this or allowing it to happen. I have a theory it could involve some Republican voters in the services, but reckon the best thing is to wait & see what the investigation turns up.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  March 21, 2017

              Gowdy’s an arch-hypocrite who, amongst his many other failings, operated his own private email server while pillorying Clinton for doing the same.

              He owes whatever national reputation he does possess entirely to chairing the House’s Benghazi sideshow. And during Clinton’s marathon testimony she made him look like a fool.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 21, 2017

              Amongst many other things, you obviously struggle to understand the legal obligations of an executive bureaucrat as opposed to an elected representative, JB.

              Tell us again about Podesta’s email security and how he handed his password over to a banal phishing exploit and then didn’t bother to change it.

    • Pete Kane

       /  March 21, 2017

      Nothing long-term for the Clinton camp to crow about, although that won’t stop the MSM(note I said long-term).

  7. Pete Kane

     /  March 21, 2017

    The above around 3 minutes each.

  8. I wonder why Admiral Rodgers of the NSA was not asked why the un-redacted text of Flynn’s discussion with the Russian Ambassador was passed to the FBI in clear contravention of NSA standing instructions? I would suggest that his answer would have been “to comply with then President Obama’s changed directive permitting sharing of un-redacted raw intelligence to certain agencies such as the FBI. My next question would be whether then President Obama knew of the existence of the transcript before signing the new directive.
    You could call it a Trump card, yet to be played?

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  March 21, 2017

      Nup I’d call it pure groundless speculation that proves absolutely nothing.

    • Gezza

       /  March 21, 2017

      Well, remember the FBI has an investigation underway, & the target, the Russian Ambassador is talking to a potential suspect, so why shouldn’t they know who that is? Finding the leakers is something they should be focussing on as well though.

      • The rules of the game are that you are not permitted to name citizens or permanent residents in an intercepted communication within the USA, they have to be redacted. This is how KDC was supported in Court and the GCSB were sanctioned (I understand).
        As far as the leakers are concerned, yes, but what if it is Former President Obama supporting his democratic candidate? One thing I am fairly certain of, is tha more is to come because the Obama directive loosening up rules for dissemination was too much to be a coincidence (be reasonable) and if indeed it is a counter-intelligence operation (the July 2016 one), it should be sealed and not available to any one except a special counsel from DOJ and the Special Investigator especially because of the political nature of the investigation!

        • Gezza

           /  March 21, 2017

          But how can you eliminate someone from your enquiries if you don’t know who they are?

        • Gezza

           /  March 21, 2017

          Has someone produced this directive from Obama yet, btw? I don’t recall seeing it. Be good if someone could link me to that.

  9. Gezza

     /  March 21, 2017

    Have you been watching President Trump’s Weekly Address videos, Al? I think you’d quite like them. The White House puts a link to them on YouTube on their Weekly Address page – easier getting them to play there. They’re only a few minutes long.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 21, 2017

      No, you know my views on videos.

      • Gezza

         /  March 21, 2017

        I didn’t think it was a blanket bureaucratic rule.

        • Anonymous Coward

           /  March 21, 2017

          Al’s running on old 386 on dial-up, it don’t do video, just buffering.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 21, 2017

            No, when you watch a video you are stuck with whatever is dished up for as long as it takes in the sequence someone else decides. When I read none of that is true.

          • Gezza

             /  March 21, 2017

            Unlikely. We know he’s got a FWPh. & a FiP too I think. Plus probably a reasonably grunty lappy I imagine.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 21, 2017

              Desktop is grunty too, G. Lots of options. Plus a couple more my wife and stepdaughter use. Lack of technology not an issue here.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  March 21, 2017

          You haven’t told me why I should ignore it. I don’t think I’m going to learn anything additional to what I already get by scanning the news and commentary.

  10. Why was the Clinton campaign and contacts with Russia not part of the July counter-intelligence inquiry. The Democratic POTUS apparently gave the Clintons a free pass. Yet it was Hilary Clinton who was Secretary of State during the Uranium One fiasco. And how much did Bill get for his Moscow speech-was it $500,000.00? Because of the political nature of the investigation by the FBI counter intelligence investigators, Obama should have widened the scope of the inquiry to consider the Clinton campaign and associates. I guess Trump has the real powerful card to play that is to issue a separate directive to the Justice Department worded identically to the anti-Trump investigation but deleting Trump andinserting Clinton?