FBI Chief Contradicts Trump's Wiretap Claim, Confirms Probe Into Russian Ties

'I have no information that supports those tweets,' James Comey tells Congressional hearing. NSA director agrees that White House claim of British involvement in such wiretap was 'nonsense and utterly ridiculous.'

U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Marine One upon his return to the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Marine One upon his return to the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2017. JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

FBI director James Comey said on Monday he can confirm that neither the FBI nor the U.S. Department of Justice has evidence to support U.S. President Donald Trump's wiretapping claim.

Comey also confirmed the FBI was investigating Trump's Russia connections and the possible Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. He said that it was a "fairly easy judgement" for the intelligence community that Moscow aimed to aid Trump and harm Hillary Clinton during the candidates' campaigns.

Trump earlier this month alleged in a series of tweets – without offering supporting evidence – that Obama ordered a wiretap of the phones at Trump's campaign headquarters in Trump Tower in New York.

"With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets," Comey told a congressional hearing. 

"And we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components: the department has no information that supports those tweets."

During the Congressional hearing, NSA Director Michael Rogers called the claim that British intelligence was involved in any wiretap, as was suggested by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, unsubstantiated.

"Our British allies have called the president's suggestion that they wire-tapped him for Obama 'nonsense and utterly ridiculous', would you agree?" Rogers was asked. "Yes sir," he replied, adding that the assertion "clearly frustrates a key ally of ours."

Earlier, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee flatly denied that there had been a wiretap on U.S. President Donald Trump's Trump Tower in New York, but said it was possible other surveillance was used against Trump. 

"Let me be clear: We know there was not a wiretap on Trump Tower. However, it's still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates," Republican Representative Devin Nunes said in his opening statement at a hearing on Russia's involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

Nunes said "numerous" current and former U.S. officials had leaked potentially classified information, and that his committee intended to identify them to bring them to justice. 

James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence, denied the charge a day later in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," while former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes sharply rejected the allegations on Twitter.