FBI Director James Comey says the FBI and Justice Department have no information to substantiate President Donald Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him before the election.
Even though the lack of evidence for a wiretap implies the president simply made up his tweet on the subject, it also means there was likely nothing to investigate. That should be good news for the president.
Comey says no individual can order surveillance of an American. He says courts grant this permission after a rigorous application process.
The FBI director was testifying before the House intelligence committee. Comey said the Justice Department, which oversees the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, also asked him to share with the committee that the answer also applies to the Justice Department and its various components.
But while it may be good news for the president that he wasn’t wiretapped, his credibility is now at stake.
“When there is a crisis over North Korea or Iran or whatnot — and every president has one in their term — we need to be able to believe our president and he is making it very, very difficult,” Rep. Adam Schiff explained.
Schiff says making a claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama was bad enough, but then just blowing it off and refusing to fully explain himself is inexcusable.
Comey also publicly confirmed for the first time that the FBI is investigating Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including any potential coordination between Trump campaign associates and Russia’s government. Comey says the probe is part of the FBI’s counter-intelligence mission. He says the investigation includes the nature of any links between individuals associated with Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between Russia’s efforts and the campaign.
Comey says the investigation will also look at whether crimes were committed. He says he can’t provide details about the investigation.
Of course, Press Secretary Sean Spicer says there’s no news here.
Trump backed up that statement:
James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
The Associated Press contributed to this story.