FBI investigated four Americans on Russia collusion suspicions, James Comey says – Donald Trump’s America
The FBI began investigating four Americans in July 2016, seeking to learn whether they helped Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential election, according to the bureau’s former director.
- Those investigated have some connection to President Trump
- Mr Comey questioned on Hillary Clinton’s emails in Republican-led inquiry
- Former British spy compiled dossier of allegations of collusion between Mr Trump’s campaign and Russia
James Comey revealed the information during a closed-door hearing of the US House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight Committee on Friday, with the transcript released overnight.
Mr Comey also appeared to suggest the four investigations were looking into ties between Russia and US President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
He did not identify the people being investigated but said they “had some connection to Mr Trump”.
Mr Trump was not one of them, he said.
“We opened investigations on four Americans to see if there was any connection between those four Americans and the Russian interference effort,” Mr Comey said.
Mr Trump fired Mr Comey in May 2017 after taking office in January of that year.
Shortly after Mr Comey’s dismissal, the Department of Justice named a special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Mr Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow.
Donald Trump has labelled the probe into his campaign’s alleged ties with Moscow a “witch hunt”. (Reuters: Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin)
Russia has denied any interference. Mr Trump denies there was any collusion and on Saturday renewed his call to end the special counsel’s investigation, calling it a “witch hunt”.
In the hearing on Friday, Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe asked Mr Comey whether the FBI had “any evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia when agents briefed Mr Trump, as a candidate in 2016, about foreign intelligence threats.
Mr Comey said the probes into the four Americans began in late July but he was not sure when agents briefed Mr Trump.
“If it was after July 29th, then the answer would be, yes, we had some reason to suspect that there were Americans who might have assisted the Russians,” Mr Comey said, according to the transcript.
The 235-page transcript also covers Mr Comey’s responses to questions about FBI interactions with a former British spy who compiled a dossier of allegations of collusion between Mr Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Most of Friday’s hearing covered politicans’ questions about Republican-led investigations into former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was in office.
The Republican-led inquiries have been lambasted by Democrats, who will take over the House of Representatives in January, as a partisan effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.