Congress investigates links between Trump and Russian Federation

Kristopher Drake
March 21, 2017

US President Donald Trump stands by his accusation the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign, the White House says, despite three senior lawmakers rejecting the claim.

The Republican and Democratic heads of the powerful Senate Intelligence committee have put out a statement saying they see "no indication" that Trump Tower was hacked, yet one more indication that President Donald Trump's explosive charge that President Barack Obama had his campaign wiretapped during the 2016 Presidential election season was (ahem) fact challenged.

The tweets remain online, and Trump told Fox News late Wednesday that he was going to produce evidence - eventually.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who heads the Judiciary Committee's crime and terrorism subcommittee, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation will provide a classified briefing on the matter "at some time in the future".

Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, confirmed that they gave Comey until this past Wednesday to inform the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism about whether the FBI is investigating President Trump's wiretapping claim about Obama.

Meanwhile, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, released documents last Thursday that show Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was paid more than $67,000 from Russian Federation companies before the presidential election.

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, citing unnamed intelligence sources, reported on its website that Spicer and Trump's national security adviser Lieutenant General Herbert McMaster had made formal apologies to Britain.

Obama quickly issued a denial, and the White House was swamped with questions of whether Trump's claim was credible.

Intelligence officials have said that Russian Federation was behind the theft of Democratic National Committee emails last summer.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff have flatly said that Trump Tower was clearly not wiretapped. The Republican president offered no evidence for the allegation, which an Obama spokesman said was "simply false".

In the latest twist it has been revealed that former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was sacked last month by Mr Trump for lying about his connections to the Russian ambassador, was paid more than $33,750 (£27,300) by Russia's state-run broadcaster for giving a speech during the election campaign.

"I think the president has been very clear when he talked about this", Spicer told reporters.

Stone said he was unaware at the time that US officials believed the hacker had ties to Russian Federation.

On Tuesday, Spicer said the president was "extremely confident" the Justice Department would provide evidence vindicating him.

Comey is slated to testify Monday before the House intelligence committee.

"As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps", Trump said.

With the statement from the Senate Intelligence Committee chiefs, it's a bicameral bipartisan assessment that the president accused his predecessor of wiretapping him without any evidence to back up the claim.

In a rare public statement, Britain's GCHQ, Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, the equivalent of the US National Security Agency which monitors overseas electronic communications, said the claims were "nonsense" and should be ignored.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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