Lawmakers seek FBI, NSA answers on Trump, Russia at rare public hearing

Lawmakers seek FBI, NSA answers on Trump, Russia at rare public hearing

"It was very noisy". Comey is restricted in how much he can say publicly, and his announcement Monday confirming the investigation into Russian interference and Trump's connections to the Russians was a break from the usual protocol. "By telling the American people what we saw and freaking people out about how the Russians might be undermining our elections successfully".

"We're expecting directors Comey and Rogers to shed light on Russia's active measures undertaken during the 2016 election campaign, the USA government's response, the compilation of the Intelligence Community's January 6 report on these events, and on related questions concerned possible surveillance on Trump campaign associates and on possible leaks of classified information", he said.

How can we have confidence that the president is being truthful?

"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".

But the panel's ranking Democrat said the material offered circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow's efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

In the current case, it's not clear how long it will take for the FBI to decide if a crime was committed, but counterintelligence investigations are known for being complicated and time-intensive - and for frequently concluding without charges.

That line of questioning, which came from Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, diverged from the norm at Monday's hearing. Many lawmakers posed charged questions that stressed the partisan divide underlying the committee probe into illicit Russian activities.

SC congressman Trey Gowdy pushed back against potential criticism of the partisan divide as the hearing came to a close.

A USA individual could think they are "helping a buddy who's a researcher at a university in China", he said, when that friend is actually passing the information on to the Chinese government.

They - question after question was about leaks coming from the intelligence community and anyone who had access to that information. He would not answer about specific leaks.

Republican members of the Committee used their questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NSA directors to probe the spate of leaks of top-secret classified intelligence to the U.S. media from around the time the Trump administration took office.

The volume of reports about classified information seems to have spiked in recent months, he added.

Nunes said on "Fox News Sunday" that he was not aware of any warrant that would have allowed such a wiretap.

"All that really matters this week is Gorsuch moving forward and the House passing step one of Obamacare repeal", said Scott Reed, a veteran Republican strategist who works for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "There's just this massive distrust of Washington, and whether that's fair or not - of Washington, of the intelligence community, of Congress, of the judicial branch".

Leon Panetta, a former United States defence secretary and Central Intelligence Agency director during the Obama administration, said in an interview that Trump should "acknowledge that he made a mistake, apologise to President Obama".

He urged Comey in the letter to release what he called "explosive information about close ties and co-ordination" between Trump's advisers and the Kremlin.

What's the main thing that you think was clarified at today's hearing? But he gave no timeline for completing the investigation.

Comey said agents were working to find out if there was "any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts".

Michael J. Morell, an acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, and who endorsed Hillary, accused Candidate Trump of having been recruited by Vladimir Putin as "an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation".

He told reporters after the hearing that the witnesses were not as forthcoming as he had anticipated.

"It just makes it much more vivid", said Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who has worked in the three previous Republican administrations.