(CNSNews.com) – “In the main, it was not true,” former FBI Director James Comey told Congress on Thursday.
He was talking about a February 14 New York Times report titled, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.”
According to that report:
Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.
The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation. But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.
Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) on Thursday asked Comey if he remembered the article.
Comey said he did; “It was about allegedly extensive electronic surveillance,” he said.
Risch noted that after the report came out, Comey “sought out both Republican and Democrat senators to tell them that, hey, I don’t know where this is coming from, but this is not factual.”
Risch told Comey: “So the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?”
“In the main – it was not true,” Comey said. “The challenge -- and I’m not picking on reporters -- about writing stories about classified information is that people talking about it often don’t really know what is going on. And those of us who actually know what’s going on aren’t talking about it. And we don’t call the press to say, hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic. We just have to leave it there.”
Later in the hearing, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted that one of the three things Trump asked Comey was: “Can you please tell the American people what these leaders in Congress already know -- what you already know, you told me three times -- that I am not personally under investigation.”
“You know,” Rubio continued, “this investigation is full of leaks, left and right. I mean, we’ve learned more from the newspaper sometimes than we do from our open hearings, for sure.
“You ever wonder why, of all the things in this investigation, the only thing that’s never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans and the leadership of Congress knew that and have known that for weeks?”
Comey responded: “I don’t know, I find matters that are briefed to the Gang of Eight are pretty tightly held, in my experience.”