Federal Bureau of Investigation to break silence on Russian Federation ties and wiretap claims

Federal Bureau of Investigation to break silence on Russian Federation ties and wiretap claims

Responding to a question from the members on Trump's allegation, Comey said the Justice Department had also looked for evidence to support Trump's allegation that his Trump Tower in NY - the headquarters of his presidential campaign - was wiretapped but could not find any.

"That's important because if you listen to the Democrats and many of their friends, they insist this collusion and this effect on the election - it simply was not there".

Trump tried to shift the attention away from the wiretapping claims in a series of Monday morning tweets.

Obama and an array of other officials have flatly denied the allegation.

In one particularly eyebrow-raising moment, Spicer resorted to claiming one associate, Paul Manafort, had a "very limited role" in the 2016 election.

"Before Obama left office, Michael Flynn was unmasked and then illegally his identity was leaked out to media outlets, despite the fact that, as NSA Director Rogers said, that unmasking and revealing individuals endangers "national security", Spicer alleged".

"He should not have talked about Hillary and he should not have talked about the Russian Federation connection".

Both Manafort and Flynn are among the Trump associates under scrutiny for possible contacts with Russian Federation during the election.

Last week, the leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a joint statement saying it also saw no indication that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance either before or after Election Day.

The White House, with the backing of some Republican lawmakers, says the real controversy is how the investigation into Trump's advisers became public.

Trump's steady failure in providing evidence for his wiretapping accusation has tied up the White House in knots, as cries are rising for an explanation for his explosive claims. Another tweet incorrectly said Comey and Rogers told lawmakers that Russian Federation "did not influence" the electoral process. Given that testimony under oath, Comey said he felt obligated to tell Congress just weeks before the election that new emails had prompted investigators to take another look at whether classified information had been mishandled.

In a moment of real-time fact-checking, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director made clear that was not a declaration he had made.

Editors' Note: Julie Pace has covered the White House and politics for The Associated Press since 2007.