James Comey says Donald Trump's tweet declaring no Russian interference in US election was wrong

FBI director contradicts President's account of intelligence hearing, raising questions about whether the White House is purposefully misleading public

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Donald Trump was wrong when he claimed US security agencies had decided Russia did not influence the 2016 Presidential election, according to FBI director James Comey

The US President posted a 51 second clip from a five-hour-long congressional intelligence hearing on Twitter with the statement: “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process”.

But when asked about Mr Trump's tweet, Mr Comey said it was not what he said, raising questions about whether the White House was purposefully misrepresenting proceedings.

The FBI director had actually told the hearing he believed the former Soviet state sought to influence the election race.

The clip tweeted by Mr Trump showed Mr Comey and head of the National Security Agency (NSA) Michael Rogers say they did not have evidence suggesting Russia had changed vote tallies on the day of the election in key swing states such as Ohio and Florida.

But vote tallying is only one stage at which outside interference on an election can take place.

At other points during the session, Mr Comey and Mr Rogers said they believe Russia meddled in the race leading up to the vote by breaking into the Democratic National Committee and other political organisations.

Contrary to Mr Trump’s tweet, they also said the intelligence community had not assessed whether Russia’s actions had a direct or quantifiable impact on the election outcome.

Asked by Democratic congressman Jim Himes about the President’s tweet, Mr Comey said: “We’ve offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact because it’s never something that we’ve looked at."

During the hearing, Mr Comey also joined a growing number of high-level officials undermining Mr Trump's claim that previous US President Barack Obama had "wiretapped" his headquarters.

The President has failed to to provide any evidence for the claim – made in a string of tweets – and a congressional committee investigating the allegation had said it did not believe it happened.

In response to Mr Trump's allegations about wire tapping, Mr Comey said: “I have no information that supports those tweets.”

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