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FBI investigating links between Trump campaign and Moscow

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By Catherine Hardy  with REUTERS, BBC, GUARDIAN
FBI investigating links between Trump campaign and Moscow

The Director of the FBI has confirmed the agency is investigating possible Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 US election.

James Comey says this includes any links between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

Comey told a congressional hearing on Russian activities that the probe “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.”

“Because it is an open, ongoing investigation and is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining.”

Has Russia said anything?

Yes. Moscow denies it attempted to influence the November 8 presidential election by hacking Democratic operatives and releasing embarrassing information.

The official hearing

AFter months of rumour and feverish speculation, more light is being cast on possible links between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s 2016 US presidential campaign.

Lawmakers are questioning the directors of the FBI and the NSA on any potential connections.

However, much of the information in question is classified so it is unlikely all the details will be discussed publicly.

Republican Devin Nunes, the Chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee says the hearing means “for the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses.”

Nunes told the congressional hearing on Russian activities that the panel has seen no evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Nunes also denied an unsubstantiated claim from Trump that there had been a wiretap on his Trump Tower in New York. However, he said it was possible other surveillance was being used against him.

“It is no crime for Trump or his associates to have ties to Russia”

The top Democrat on the US House Intelligence Committee says it is not known whether any Americans helped Russia in an alleged hacking campaign aimed at swaying the November 8 election in Donald Trump’s favour.

“We do not yet know whether the Russians had the help of US citizens, including people associated with the Trump campaign,” Adam Schiff said at the congressional hearing on possible Russian intervention in the election.

It is no crime for Trump or his associates to have ties to Russia, he added.

“On the other hand, if the Trump campaign, or anybody associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of our democracy in history,” he said.

In tweets

“Here’s where we begin our investigation into Russian interference”

“If we are going to protect the country, we need to know exactly what the Russians did.”

“Mr President, the Russians hacked our election and interfered.”

“As you will see during our hearing, Mr President, there is no evidence Mr. Obama tapped your phones.”

“Your suggestion British wiretapped you & jape with Merkel are harming our relationships with key allies. This is called “collateral damage.”“

“The intelligence community concluded the Russians will interfere again.”