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FBI director confirms investigation of possible collusion between Trump campaign and Russia

David S. Cloud, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Director James B. Comey confirmed for the first time Monday that the FBI is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian authorities during the 2016 election campaign.

Comey said the investigation was examining whether "there was any coordination" between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Comey suggested that the case was not a criminal investigation but was being conducted as part of FBI's "counterintelligence mission," aimed at preventing Russia intelligence operations against the U.S.

"I can promise you we will follow the facts wherever they lead," he said.

The FBI does not usually publicly confirm its investigations. Comey said he had been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm the investigation in this case.

"I cannot say more about what we are doing," Comey said.

Although the FBI investigation has been reported for weeks, the FBI has not previously confirmed it. He did so in the first congressional hearing into Russia's role in the presidential race.

In his opening statement, Comey did not discuss President Donald Trump's claim that President Barack Obama had ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower.

Trump first accused Obama of wiretapping him on March 4 and has refused to back down even though Obama, the heads of both GOP-led congressional intelligence committees and the former director of national intelligence said it wasn't true.

Comey's testimony came a day after the House intelligence panel's leaders said that documents provided to Congress by the Justice Department on Friday did not substantiate Trump's claims of wiretapping or surveillance at Trump Tower.

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