Comey set to testify on Capitol Hill on Russian Federation, hacking, wiretapping

Mike Quigley

"The president doesn't go and physically wiretap something", he said.

"The one crime we know that's been committed is that one: the leaking of someone's name", Mr Nunes, chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Fox News on Sunday.

Lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence panels offered clashing opinions Sunday on the FBI's investigation into whether President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian officials colluded in an effort to influence the U.S. election ahead of a House hearing on the issue. Though Trump and top aides have sought to recast the president's charge to mean he was surveilled in the broader sense - not necessarily wiretapped - they have stood by the claim and expressed confidence that evidence will emerge.

"I don't know the basis for President Trump's assertion, and that's what I wish he would explain to us on the intelligence committee, and to the American people".

The House intelligence committee is to begin hearings Monday into Russia's role in cybersecurity breaches at the Democratic National Committee, as well as President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claim that his predecessor had authorized a wiretap of Trump Tower.

"The perpetrator was Russia, and there are serious questions about ties" between Trump associates and Russian officials, he said.

As well as investigating the extent of communications between the two parties in the lead-up to the November 8 election, the committee is also probing alleged leaks to USA media about Trump aides caught up in the scandal. He repeated an unsubstantiated claim that Britain's cyber intelligence organization conducted the surveillance at Obama's behest, a claim the agency GBHQ flatly denied; and mentioned during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's first visit to the Trump White House the Obama administration's monitoring of Merkel's cellphone, a bruising incident in German-U.S. relations.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn resigned as Trump's national security adviser following media reports about his post-election communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

"There's no evidence of collusion", he said.

The witness list, titled "Disinformation: A Primer on Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaign", does not yet include any government officials.

The panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, told NBC's Meet The Press that Trump's wiretapping claims are "patently false, and the wrecking ball it created now has banged into" USA allies, including Germany and Great Britain in recent days.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has announced a public hearing for March 30. He added that "if you take the president literally, it didn't happen".

Members of Congress have expressed frustration over what they call the lack of cooperation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about Russian Federation and Trump's wiretap claim, which Obama and an array of other officials have flatly denied. Comey was "incredulous" about Trump's tweets, sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Officials in London were livid that White House spokesman Sean Spicer cited an unsubstantiated report that Britain's Government Communications Headquarters - the British equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency - had been used by Obama in the operation. The Texas Republican said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Trump's accusation is "not necessarily outlandish" and accused the Obama administration of politically motivated behavior, citing the IRS scandal involving applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups. He said the National Security Agency had provided some information and expects to fully meet the committee's request by the end of next week.

"We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind [Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano], who was the one responsible for saying that on television".

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