FBI director James Comey is set to confirm whether or not the intelligence organisation is investigating possible links between Russia and Donald Trump’s election campaign, it has been claimed.
Mr Comey reportedly told senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham during a private meeting on 2 March that the FBI would confirm if an investigation is being undertaken by the time of a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on crime and terrorism, due to take place on Wednesday.
Speaking to CNN, Mr Whitehouse claimed that Mr Comey promised to confirm any FBI actions “and the scope of their Russia/Trump investigation because he had not been able to at that point say that there was one”.
Both senators lead the subcommittee on crime and terrorism, which has congressional oversight of the FBI. The pair are investigating potential attempts by Russia to influence the 2016 election but are wary of interfering with any investigations the FBI is already conducting into the allegations.
Speaking to Politico, Mr Whitehouse said he told Mr Comey that the subcommittee hearing would go ahead on 15 March and that he and Mr Graham would need to be informed of the FBI’s actions by then.
“You can’t really be in the position of saying: ‘Your congressional oversight will interfere with an on-going investigation but we’re not going to confirm that we have an on-going investigation.’ You can’t have it both ways,” he told the magazine.
US intelligence agencies in January claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hacks of the Democratic National Committee’s and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman’s computers to influence the election on Mr Trump’s behalf. This has been denied by Russia.
Mr Whitehouse and Mr Graham have also requested information from Mr Comey for documents such as warrant applications or court orders that could provide proof for the President’s unsubstantiated claims that Mr Obama wiretapped Trump Tower while he was in office.
In a letter to Mr Comey and Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, the senators requested to be provided with “copies of any warrant applications and court orders... related to wiretaps of President Trump, the Trump campaign, or Trump Tower."
The senators said they would "take any abuse of wiretapping authorities for political purposes very seriously,” but said: "We would be equally alarmed to learn that a court found enough evidence of criminal activity or contact with a foreign power to legally authorise a wiretap of President Trump, the Trump campaign, or Trump Tower."
President Trump made the claims on Twitter without providing any supporting evidence. Mr Obama has refuted them.
The President’s spokesman Sean Spicer said Mr Trump is “extremely confident” that evidence will be found to support the claims, though the Justice Department on Monday asked for more time to provide proof to lawmakers.Reuse content