F.B.I Director James B. Comey Confirms Russia Investigation

Monday marked the announcement of James B. Comey-FBI Director saying that investigations by the agency were underway in connection to President Trump’s team as to whether they colluded with Russia to impact the 2016 election. The FBI Director’s appearance before the House Intelligence Committee made a dent on Trump’s political stance, who has reiterated that the Russia news was all fermented by his opponents to ruin his presidency. In his appearance before the committee, he said officers would investigate the issue and take all the time they need to do so.

Trump’s wiretap claims by the former President Obama during the campaign were also one of the issues that got dismissed by the FBI Director who was accompanied by the NSA boss, Adm. Michael S; both saying that the president’s accusations didn’t hold any footing. The investigation into Trump’s campaign and the Russia’s involvement were reported by New York Times and various news agencies which were dismissed by President Trump and deemed them to be politically driven and urged his political allies to refute them. Monday saw the first acknowledgment of the case by Mr. Comey. FBI investigations get rarely disclosed, and when disclosed, it’s when officials believe that the public deserves to know.

Mr. Comey said that this was one of those circumstances.

In a statement, he said that FBI was carrying out an investigation as to the nature of any ties between the Russian Government and Trump’s campaign team and whether any coordination transpired between the two parties.

Among the most time-consuming and challenging FBI cases are counterintelligence investigations, which might mean that Trump’s administration might see this go on for years and years. However, such cases mostly don’t come to fruition in terms of getting someone prosecuted.

Hillary Clinton’s chances to get the presidency were significantly hurt by President of Russia Vladimir V. Putin while at the same time aiding Donald Trump; this was according to American Intelligence agencies reports in January. This was achieved by hacking political targets which included the Demographic National Committee and the revealing of embarrassing emails via the WikiLeaks website. Mr. Comey’s testimony was dismissed by the White House saying no such coordination happened between Russia and Trump’s associates making the investigation irrelevant. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that the leakage of classified information to journalists about Trump’s advisers which suggested that they might have previously worked for the Obama administration needed more attention in this regard.

No proof yet has been found by the American officials relating to the collision of the two sides, but former and current officials state that new evidence has surfaced showing that Russian officials and the Trump campaign team repeatedly communicated with people in the Russian intelligence also involved. Mr. Trump’s long-term advisor Roger J. Stone Jr admitted to having contacts with Guccifer 2.0 who’s believed to work with Russian intelligence officials and helped in the dissemination of the Democratic emails that got hacked. According to J. Stone, nothing about them making contact was improper, citing that he was one of the other many officials, including journalists and political operatives to make contact with the hackers.

When WikiLeaks started disseminating the hacked emails in July last year, Carter Page, an adviser to Donald Trump dealing with foreign policy toured Moscow to have a speaking engagement. Stating that he mostly met with scholars, Mr. Page has not yet revealed the name of the individuals he met with while in Moscow.

In 2015, firms having ties with Russia are said to have given Trump’s campaign advisor (Now national security advisor)-Michael T. Flynn over $65,000, including Russia’s intelligence services which are believed to have links with an American cybersecurity company branch; this was according to the congressional investigators. Shortly after misinterpreting conversations between him and the Russian ambassador regarding the United States, he was coerced to exit his post.

According to Mr. Comey, oligarchs, government officials, business leaders and other people close to Mr. Putin were used by Trump’s team to source intelligence. He, however, avoided some of the questions related to Mr. Trump’s advisors and said that American citizens at times were not aware that they were in contact with foreign agents. He also stated that the FBI investigation did not mean that it was a must that they would charge someone of wrong doing. Nevertheless, the Russian connections with Trump’s team were repeatedly highlighted by Democrats who accused President Trump of having Russian interests at heart and pro-Russia views.

Adam B. Schiff, intelligent committee’s Democrat, reiterated that it was next to impossible that the events reported were a coincidence and that they didn’t have any meaning. He further continued to say it might be possible it’s a coincidence and that they’re not related in any way, but the chances that this was the case was minimal. The FBI Director who gave his testimony for over five hours said that there was no evidence yet of the election votes being tampered with by the Russian hackers. White House was fast to spin the statement posting the clip of the Director testifying on Twitter.

After Democrat of Connecticut, Rep Jim Himes read the tweet to Mr. Comey later in the hearing; he clarified that that wasn’t what he said.

He stated that they have no information, no view on the potential influence as it was not something that they had looked at. He added that their investigation was directed towards the interference of the election by Russians and not the impact of their involvement. Whether he plans to make the findings known to the public or the duration which it will take for the investigation to get completed was not revealed by Mr. Comey which led to complaints by Republicans that the more the case went on, the more White House would have a cloud hanging over it.

Intelligence Committee Republican Chairman, David Nunes from California said this would hang over White House if it took longer and that if there was any evidence related to White House staff that would help, they should make it known to them.

President Trump tweeted early on that day denying the Russia involvement accusations and at the same time criticizing the information leak of classified documents in regards to the investigation. White House by midday stated that Comey’s testimony showed that Obama administration members facilitated the leaks. Similar allegations were echoed by the Intelligence Committee Republicans, utilizing their questions to the FBI director to criticize the Russia investigation news coverage and rebuked government officials who anonymously make contact with journalists. David Nunes’ concern was mainly on the issue of the information leak to journalists about the investigation of Mr. Trump’s associates.

Insisting that there was nothing left to investigate on the Russia issue, White House said that Congress should be looking into claims by Trump in regards to the wiretapping issue by his predecessor where he made the accusations early this month on Twitter.

His accusation has been backed by White House even though all arms of government have come to the conclusion that the allegations bear no truth. Mr. Comey on Tuesday urged the Justice Department to release a public statement dismissing Trump’s claims on the wiretap issue. Mr. Comey said that he had no intelligence that would provide a backbone to those tweets and that they did a thorough checking inside the FBI. He also added that the Justice Department found no evidence.

However, these assurances did not deter the White House’s stance on the matter. In light of Mr. Comey’s testimony, Sean Spicer still stated that the President stood firmly behind his claims.

Source: NYTimes