FBI: No information to support Trump wiretap claim

[caption id="attachment_12691" align="aligncenter" width="684"] Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month [Reuters][/caption]Top US intelligence officials, including the director of the FBI, say they have no information supporting President Donald Trump's claim that his predecessor Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of him during the 2016 election campaign.

FBI Director James Comey appeared on Monday before a panel of Congress members looking into possible intelligence breaches, allegations of Russian hacking, and links between Moscow and Trump's campaign.

"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 members of the House Intelligence Committee.

"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 ... The department has no information that supports those tweets," he said.

Comey also confirmed there is an active investigation looking into alleged Russian interference in the US election. Russia denies it attempted to influence the November 8 presidential vote.

Trump created controversy in early March when he tweeted without giving evidence that Obama's administration had wiretapped Trump Tower in New York City.

In his opening statement at the hearing, Republican Representative Devin Nunes issued a similar comment made by Comey, although he said other forms of surveillance of Trump and his associates have not been ruled out.

Al Jazeera's White House Editor James Bay, reporting from Washington DC, said the statement by the intelligence officials are "embarrassing" to the Trump administration.

"That's something they don't want to hear in the White House," he said.

Monday's hearing, one of several by congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling, could allow for the greatest public accounting to date of investigations that have shadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.

US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia meddled in the campaign to help Trump defeat Clinton. The FBI has also been investigating ties between Russia and Trump advisers and associates during the campaign.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.(alj)
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