Comey set to testify on Capitol Hill on Russia, hacking, wiretapping
Monday FBI Director James Comey is set to testify before a House committee investigating Russian activities during the 2016 presidential election, amid expectations he’ll provide long-awaited answers and evidence on that issue and whether President Trump was indeed wiretapped.
Friday the Justice Department gave the House intelligence committee requested information about Trump’s claim of being wiretapped during the presidential election.
However, California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the committee chairman, won’t say what was received.
Nunes told “Fox News Sunday” that he still has no evidence that Trump Tower was wiretapped by the Obama administration.
“The president doesn’t go and physically wiretap something,” he said. “But the other issue out there is the unmasking of names, the leaking of names. That happened to [former National Security Adviser] Michael Flynn. The concern we have is: Are there any other surveillance activities in the unmasking of names?”
Comey has made little public comment on the issue, which has resulted in congressional lawmakers accusing him of stonewalling them.
His testimony will be made in conjunction with the committee’s investigation into the Russian involvement.
National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers also is set to testify.
The Senate intelligence committee and the FBI also are probing Russian involvement in the election.
The U.S. intelligence community has already concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential race — in which computer emails from the Democratic National Committee and related to the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton were stolen and made public.
Nunes says the committee still had not received information it requested from the FBI and CIA about whether information collected on U.S. persons was mishandled and leaked to the public.
He said the National Security Agency had provided some information and expects to fully meet the committee’s request by the end of next week.
Nunes also said Sunday about the hearing: “For the first time, the American people and all political parties are finally paying attention to the threat that Russian poses.”
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, declined to comment Friday evening.
The leaders of the House intelligence committee wrote the three agencies earlier this week, asking for details about Americans who surfaced in intelligence collections between June 2016 and January. The committee wanted to know how many conversations involving a U.S. person were swept up, whether their identities were unmasked and whether legal requirements for disseminating their identities were followed.
Identities of Americans who show up in U.S. surveillance against foreign targets are generally concealed, but can be unmasked by intelligence agencies in certain circumstances. Those include situations when the communications contain information that a crime has been or is about to be committed; when the Americans’ identity is necessary to understand the importance of the foreign intelligence collected; or when the communication provides information that an American may be an agent of a foreign power.
And last week, the Senate intelligence committee announced a March 30 hearing in connection to its investigation into Russian activities during last year’s presidential election. A first panel of witnesses will examine the history of Russian influence campaigns and a second panel will address how Russia uses cyber operations to support the activities.
Former intelligence officials and others from business and academia are scheduled to testify.
The committee earlier held an open hearing in January on the Russian activities in the 2016 election.