Speaking before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey has confirmed that there is an ongoing investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Director Comey said in his opening statement that the FBI does not usually confirm or deny ongoing investigations, but did so in this case due to the extraordinary public interest.
“As you know, our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations, especially those investigations that involve classified matters, but, in unusual circumstances when it is in the public interest it may be appropriate to do so, as Justice Department policies recognize,” Comey told the committee. “This is one of those circumstances.”
“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Comey continued. “That 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. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment as to whether any crimes were committed.”
Comey went on to say that he could not make more specific comments because the investigation was ongoing. He also asked that people avoid speculation based on his inability to give specifics. Director Comey promised to “follow the facts wherever they lead,” but declined to give a timetable for the investigation.
In his opening statement, Director Comey did not address President Trump’s claims that the Obama Administration had “wiretapped” the Trump Tower during the campaign.
Last year, President Trump criticized Director Comey for failing to recommend prosecution for Hillary Clinton last summer, but then reversed himself and praised Comey after his letter to members of Congress detailing the discovery of new Clinton emails prior to the election. President Trump ultimately decided to allow Comey, whose 10-year term began in 2013, to continue in his role as FBI Director.
View Director Comey’s entire statement here.