During a hearing on Russian involvement in the 2016 election on Monday, FBI Director James Comey publicly acknowledged an ongoing and classified investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election and whether associates of President Trump were in contact with anyone in Russia.
“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Comey began. “And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed."
It is the first time the FBI director has publicly acknowledged that this is the case.
Comey went on to say that due to the nature of the investigation, he would not be commenting more specifically on the matter at this time.
His statement amounted to a public rebuke of President Trump who has asserted that the story of Russian involvement in the election amounts to a partisan effort by Democrats to undermine his administration.
Trump was up early Monday morning to tweeting a prebuttal to the hearing well hours before it began.
“James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” he tweeted.
Additionally he wrote that “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”
Comey’s remarks did not intimate that there was collusion between the Russian government and Trump’s campaign—simply that the matter was in fact being investigated.