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'No evidence' of Obama wiretapping or Russian interference in United States election

20 March 2017, 09:17 | Darin Griffith

David Sarasohn

David Sarasohn

The committee is set to start public hearings today (Monday 20 March) into allegations that Russian Federation attempted to influence the election and steer the outcome in favour of Trump.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) explained Sunday on "Fox News Sunday" that based on all of the evidence his committee has so far investigated, he can not conclude that there was any collusion whatsoever between Trump's campaign and the Russians. Were there U.S. persons who were helping the Russians in any way.

Key senators said Thursday they did not have evidence to support Trump's wiretapping accusation. "And what can we do to protect not only ourselves in the future and our allies who are facing the same Russian onslaught right now?"

"There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception", Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said.

Nunes said he has seen "no evidence of collusion", Heavy.com reports.

Trump has found himself at odds with Democrats and Republicans alike, including Nunes, over his March 4 assertion that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign. Comey said Moscow had always been opposed to Trump's election rival, former secretary of state Clinton. The claims angered British officials and have since been widely panned as unfounded - even by Fox News itself.

Nunes said Trump could be referring to new information about whether intelligence officials "unmasked", or identified, US citizens who were captured speaking with foreign officials who are under routine surveillance - a process governed by FISA.

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Monday's much-anticipated hearing will feature testimony from Comey as well as Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency.

Carter Page, who briefly served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign, has also said he was contacted by the Senate panel about its investigation.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said Sunday morning the documents delivered to the committee by the Department of Justice indicate there was no wiretap of Trump Tower. "Either story is bad for the president". Many Democrats remain upset with him over his public disclosures in late October about the FBI's investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, believing he cost the former secretary of state the election. "We do know that the Obama administration targeted their political enemies.so the notion is not necessarily outlandish, but it's serious", he said. That rift makes "a bipartisan, thoughtful, thorough investigation" essential, he said.

But the hearing Monday is about much more than the unfounded accusations first lodged on Twitter -- its main objective is to look at how Russia interfered with last year's presidential election, and to understand Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiries into whether any USA citizens helped the Russian government. And congressional and public attention has turned to possible relations between Trump and Russian Federation.

Trump fired Flynn from the post of his former national security adviser last month after he failed to disclose that he met Russia's ambassador before Trump took charge on January 20. Some news organisations including the BBC have reported on a warrant that may have included Trump campaign team members.

The US intelligence community has publicly blamed Russian Federation for hacks of the Democratic National Committee previous year, and suggested the cyber attacks were aimed at steering the election to a Trump victory.

Nunes said the panel would look at whether names other than Flynn's were leaked to the media. It also includes the query about incidental collection, to see whether the intelligence community adhered closely to the law as it was doing its job. "We know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades". And the information we got on Friday continues to lead us in that direction.



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