FBI Director James Comey says the FBI and Justice Department have no information to substantiate Trump’s wiretap claims.

Comey testified during the House Intelligence Committee hearing Monday on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which had Trump get more Electoral College votes to defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. He said the Justice Department also asked him to tell the committee that the findings also applied to the department’s various components, which include the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Comey said no individual could order surveillance of an American, noting that courts usually granted this permission after a rigorous application process.

Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, added that the Obama administration did not ask British intelligence to spy on Trump during the 2016 campaign, as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer alleged last week.

Rogers said such a request to eavesdrop on a U.S. citizen would be “expressly against the construct” of intelligence agreements with the British and other close allies.

“I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we ever engaged in such activity” or were asked to conduct surveillance of Trump by Obama, Rogers said.

Comey also has 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 the Russian government.

Comey said he was authorized by the Justice Department to make the disclosure. Typically, the FBI does not discuss or even confirm the existence of ongoing investigations.

Comey says the investigation is part of the FBI’s counter-intelligence mission. He says the probe includes the nature of any links between individuals associated with Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the two parties.

Comey said the investigation would also look at whether crimes were committed. He said he could not provide details about the investigation.

The FBI director’s testimony should put to rest Trump’s reckless and baseless claims that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump.

Despite Trump’s accusation that Democrats are fabricating allegations about Russia and creating more “fake news,” Comey has confirmed that the FBI is investigating whether anyone in the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

http://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/trump-s-wiretap-claims-rebutted-by-fbi-director/article_f746b91b-62c0-5a5b-b7b4-0504fa75a1b4.html

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