Lawmakers seek FBI, NSA answers on Trump, Russia at rare public hearing

Trump tweeted that he and German Chancellor Angela

Speaking to a House intelligence committee Monday, both Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said that there was no evidence that Russian hackers interfered with the counting of votes in swing states that Trump narrowly won, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Asked about that tweet later in the hearing, Comey said that was not exactly what he said.

In fact, Comey and Rogers testified at the hearing that the FBI is investigating Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election, including potential links with the Trump campaign.

Comey was later asked a similar question and said it's not "something that we looked at".

He also said his committee, as well as a similar committee in the Senate, was determined to identify and prosecute any current and/or former USA officials - he said they were "numerous" - who had leaked potentially classified information to the media.

The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks subsequently released thousands of emails from the files of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta in the month before the election, showing embarrassing, behind-the-scenes efforts of Democratic operatives to help Clinton win the party's presidential nomination. The intelligence committee chairman cited the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, dismissed by Trump for mis-characterizing his discussions with the Russian ambassador to the United States, a topic that surfaced publicly because of news leaks. "However, it's still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates".

FBI Director James Comey told a congressional hearing he had seen no evidence to support a claim by Trump that Obama had wiretapped his campaign headquarters in Manhattan's Trump Tower. Trump has often complained about leaks of information that have cast a wide shadow on his performance, but did not say specifically what disclosure he was concerned about.

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Ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., also stressed in his statement that he has seen no evidence to back the accusation, calling it "slanderous". "The American people want and deserve the whole truth about the Trump-Russia connection", she said.

Republicans on the committee used their questions mostly to press Rogers and Comey about leaks of potentially classified information and surveillance of USA citizens.

Comey's reason to Congress at the time was that he wanted to avoid accusations of a coverup, should more information get leaked, but Democrats saw it as a deliberate act of sabotage of their candidate's chances by the country's top law enforcer. Asked about certain members of the Obama administration, Comey said they would be able to unmask citizens in certain situations.

Trump blamed Democrats on Monday for stirring concerns about Russian Federation, but top Republican lawmakers John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, among others, have publicly said they want to find out more about Russia's role in the election.

Meanwhile, Trump has accused the Obama administration of tapping his phones during the election campaign, which several senior officials have denied.

"There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception", Schiff said on NBC's "Meet the Press".

Accusations of Russian Federation connections have dogged the Trump administration since he took office in January. The Obama administration brought those sanctions in response to the alleged meddling.

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