FBI director confirms U.S. probe into alleged Russian meddling in 2016 presidential election

FBI director confirms U.S. probe into alleged Russian meddling in 2016 presidential election
Voters cast their votes during the U.S. presidential election in Elyria, Ohio, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey confirmed on Monday that the agency is investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Comey’s first public confirmation of an investigation which began in July last year came at the beginning of his opening statement in a congressional hearing examining Russian interference and possible links between Moscow and U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign.

“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts,” said Comey.

Under questioning during the hearing, the FBI director also publicly contradicted a series of tweets from Trump that declared former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his New York City headquarters during the campaign.

On March 4, Trump tweeted that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower before his election victory, offering no evidence.

Hours later, Obama’s spokesman said Trump’s wiretapping accusation is “simply false.”

The White House has so far refused to retract the accusation.

Speaking at the beginning of Monday’s hearing on Monday, Republican lawmaker and Chairman of U.S. House Select Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes also acknowledged that “there was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower.”

Comey was testifying along with National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, who said Moscow has been attempting to sway the U.S. presidential elections for dozens of years.

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