The FBI is actively investigating Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election and possible cooperation from President Donald Trump's campaign, agency director James Comey confirmed.
National Security Agency (NSA) director Admiral Mike Rogers, who was also at the packed hearing, strongly rebutted the suggestion repeated by Mr Trump's administration that the agency had asked Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence agency to spy on the US President.
He did admit, however, that US intelligence agencies have unanimously concluded that Russian Federation did attempt to influence the election campaign - with or without the assist of Trump operatives - because of its preference to see Trump elected over Clinton.
Comey also stated categorically that there was no evidence to support the conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower, speculation Trump himself had stated as fact in a moment of Breitbart-induced delirium earlier this month.
Comey was also willing to talk about what the Federal Bureau of Investigation knows in relation to Trump's recent tweets saying the Obama administration wiretapped his phones during the election. But let's look at what we do know at the starting gate. The tweets came before Comey appeared in front of a House panel and confirmed for the first time the FBI is investigating possible Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
Mr. Comey has never publicly rejected Mr. Trump's wiretapping claim or publicly acknowledged that it has any kind of investigation under way of contacts between the Kremlin and Mr. Trump's associates. But Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican whose committee is one of several investigating, said that other forms of surveillance of Trump and his associates have not been ruled out.
At the outset of a pivotal week in Washington, FBI Director James Comey delivered a political gut-punch to President Donald Trump Monday - and the news possibly could get worse for the president in the days and weeks ahead.
"No, I do not, but I would highlight we are a foreign intelligence organization, not a domestic intelligence organization, so it would be fair to say we are probably not the best organization to provide a more complete answer", Rogers replied.
Trump has rejected suggestions that he or his campaign had improper contacts with Russian officials.
USA intelligence agencies in January took the extraordinary step of stating publicly that they believe hackers working for Russian Federation broke into the online accounts of senior Democrats and released embarrassing emails with the aim of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
A White House official told CNN as the hearing was ongoing that "nothing has changed" based on revelations from Comey's testimony.
He said the investigation would also conclude whether any crimes were committed. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost! "I suspect everyone on the Intelligence Committee has been briefed on things that are not publically known". Must find leaker now!