Suspense Builds Over James Comey’s Testimony
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Mar 20 2017
Today at 10am, the directors of the FBI and NSA will break their public silence and give keenly await testimony about their investigations into possible links between Russia and Trump’s campaign at a rare open congressional intelligence committee hearing. They will also be grilled on Trump’s explosive allegation that he was wiretapped by Obama. FBI Director James Comey and Mike Rogers of the NSA will speak publicly for the first time about two issues that have riveted the Pindo creeple for weeks and further divided the country’s two ever-at-odds political parties. The stakes for Trump could hardly be higher according to AFP. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Committee on Intelligence, and Adam Schiff, the top Democrat, have called Comey and Rogers to testify as part of their committee’s probe into allegations that Russia meddled in ther Pindosi elections. Other congressional committees also are investigating the matter, mostly behind closed doors. But amid a furor over whether Moscow tried to influence the 2016 presidential race on Trump’s behalf, the critturs said they would make public as much of their probes as possible. Trump and his entourage’s possible ties with Russia have been the subject of much speculation since before he was elected on Nov 8.
Pindo intelligence agencies in January took the extraordinary step of stating publicly that they had concluded that hackers working for Russia broke into the email accounts of senior Democrats and released embarrassing ones with the aim of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. Even since then, the question of whether Trump and company were or are somehow in cahoots with Russia has dominated the national conversation. A congressional panel so far has found no evidence that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, its chairman said Sunday.
Based on “everything I have up to this morning, no evidence of collusion,” by Trump’s team and Moscow, Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News. Meanwhile, Moscow has denied involvement in the hacks, and Trump has denounced the tumult over alleged Russia connections as a “total witch hunt.” Monday’s hearing was also expected to address a second explosive issue: Trump’s accusations that the Obama administration wiretapped his phone at Trump Tower in New York during the campaign. Trump on Mar 4 tweeted that Obama had “tapped” his phone, a charge that has consumed political debate in Faschingstein. Several congressional panels have launched investigations into Russia’s alleged interference, including the House and Senate intelligence committees, which have jurisdiction over the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, and the House and Senate judiciary committees. The FBI is also probing Russian interference in the election. The question remains whether the agency has opened a criminal investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials.
Monday’s hearing promises to be a very public showdown between the FBI and senior Congress critturs, with the national security world certain to watch whether Comey drops a political bombshell. The critturs have expressed frustration over what they call the lack of cooperation from the FBI about Russia and Trump’s wiretap claim, which Obama and an array of other officials have flatly denied. … Nunes has said that the intelligence committee probe focuses in part on who revealed that Flynn had unreported private contacts with the Russians over the sanctions issue.
Domestically, the controversy over the wiretapping claim has pulled attention away from Trump’s effort to push through other key items on his agenda, including the planned repeal of Obama’s healthcare law, tax reform and his controversial travel ban. Critics say it has also debased the already coarse tone of political debate in Washington and eroded the president’s credibility at home and abroad. Some of the fallout has been international in scope: The White House was forced to retract a charge repeated last week by Sean Spicer that GCHQ aided the Obama administration in the alleged wiretap. Hearings live on C-SPAN now.