The White House on Monday asserted there is “no evidence” that President Trump’s associates colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election after FBI Director James Comey confirmed a bureau investigation.
“Nothing has changed,” a White House official wrote in an email. “Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm there is NO EVIDENCE of Trump-Russia collusion and there is NO EVIDENCE of a Trump-Russia scandal.”
Comey's explosive revelation earlier Monday morning ended months of speculation about whether the federal government is probing Trump’s campaign and challenged the president’s repeated efforts to downplay his team’s alleged involvement with Moscow.
But the White House is pointing to statements made by former acting CIA chief Michael Morrell and James Clapper, former President Obama’s top intelligence official, that they have seen no evidence of collusion between Trump associates and Russians.
Ahead of the House intelligence panel hearing where Comey confirmed the probe, Trump tweeted the Russia story is “is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!”
“The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!” he added.
The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
Comey’s description of the situation, however, is at odds with Trump’s.
He said the Justice Department authorized him to publicly acknowledge the probe’s existence.
“I can promise you we will follow the facts wherever they lead,” Comey said.
The FBI director repeatedly declined to provide more details about the investigation, including which Trump officials are being targeted.
The inquiry, which he said began last July, will determine whether any crimes were committed.