Washington, March 21: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Monday publicly confirmed for the first time that the agency is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 Presidential election. FBI director James Comey confirmed the probe and said that the agency had seen no evidence to back up President Trump's claim that his phones had been tapped by the Obama administration.
While handing over all the evidence to the congressional intelligence committee, Comey said he is authorized by the American justice department to make the disclosure. Comey further stated that the probe is part of the FBI's counter-intelligence mission. He said the investigation includes the nature of any links between individuals associated with President Trump's campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between Russian efforts and the campaign.
Comey told the US House Intelligence Committee: "This work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable for when it will be done." The FBI would also assess whether crimes were committed, he said the investigation was very complex and he could not give a timetable for its completion.
Meanwhile, President Trump took to Twitter before the hearing began, accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates' contact with Russia during the election. He said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks, and maybe even Hillary Clinton, instead.
President Trump tweeted: "The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!"
Notably, the United States Intelligence Community has officially concluded that the Russian government attempted to interfere in the 2016 United States elections. An intelligence community assessment stated, "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Hillary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.