James Comey: Former FBI chief testifies to Russia probe in US and Canada

Former FBI director James Comey appeared before the US Congress on Wednesday in a politically charged hearing, defending the FBI’s “Crossfire Storm” investigation into relations between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

“It was an investigation that was properly dedicated, and which was to be opened, and it was mainly conducted in the right way,” Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on Wednesday.

Comey said he has “no idea on earth” US Attorney General William Burr meant when he says the Trump-Russia investigation was unrestricted.

“The notion that the Attorney General believes there was an illegitimate effort to investigate, I find,” Comey told the committee.

Comey’s appearance by video feed just a week before the US presidential election is to continue Russia’s affair of President Donald Trump and his allies as a “hoax”.

The president fired Comey in May 2017, prompting the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct an independent investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties under Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which reported dozens between campaign officials and Russian officials There were links.

“You saw what happened to Hillary Clinton where it was a completely big job,” President Trump said in the presidential debate with Democrat Joe Biden on Tuesday night, adding new, but dubious Russian information to his administration’s top spy officer Released by on Tuesday.

National Intelligence director John Ratcliffe, a former Texas congressman and Trump loyalist, released a letter to the Senate committee in 2016 revealing CIA intelligence about Hillary Clinton’s efforts to tie Trump to Russia.

According to the letter, US officials were aware of Russian intelligence in 2016 that then-Democratic presidential candidate Clinton “in his foreign policy advisers to blame Donald Trump for instigating a scandal claiming interference by Russian foreign services” A proposal was approved. ” “.

Democrats said the letter expressed Russian disintegration. Ratcliffe acknowledged that US intelligence agencies “may not reflect the accuracy of this allegation or the Russian intelligence analysis exaggeration or fabrication”.

Comey dismissed this in his testimony. “I don’t understand Mr. Ratcliffe’s letter well enough to comment on it. It’s misleading … I really don’t know what he’s doing.”

US Senator Lindsey Graham questioned former FBI Director James Comey of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Russia’s 2016 Trump campaign in an investigation into the FBI’s fire crossfire hurricane ‘investigation. [Ken Cedeno/Pool via Reuters]

Republican and loyal Trump aide Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who is facing a tough re-election battle in South Carolina, investigated how the Trump-Russia investigation began.

Republican legislators have captured the errors identified in the internal DOJ investigation to cast widespread skepticism over the Russia investigation and Barr has assigned a federal prosecutor, US Attorney John Durham, to conduct a special criminal investigation.

Democrats regretted the backward-looking nature of Wednesday’s hearing, arguing that the Russia investigation was legitimate and that the committee’s time may be better spent in other matters.

“Most people think we should talk about other things, except President Trump,” said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, while Senator Patrick Leahy described the hearing as a “political misunderstanding” for the president. Associated Press News reports.

Comey is the latest high-profile DOJ or FBI to testify to the Senate Judicial Committee.

He acknowledged “related” and “embarrassing” problems in the handling of detailed surveillance applications in a detailed 2019 report by the DOJ Inspector General (IG).

“I’m not looking to avoid responsibility,” Comey said. “I was the director.”

A former FBI lawyer has pleaded guilty to turning over emails related to the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as part of Durham’s continuing investigation into the Russia investigation.

Under questioning by Republicans, Comey said that, if he had known what he knew today, he would not have approved Page’s surveillance. But he discounted the relevance of page monitoring for the investigation.

“The overall investigation was very important. Piece of page? Very rarely, ”said Comey.

The DOJ Inspector General did not find evidence of partisan bias at the initiation of the FBI investigation and concluded that the investigation was opened for a valid reason.

Former CIA chief John Brennan said in a tweet that Republicans were distorting the record.

However, the FBI did not tell the surveillance court that a prominent source for former British spy Christopher Steele who compiled dossiers on Trump and Russia was unveiled in an interview with FBI information for which he was held responsible.

IG reports and documents released in recent months have questioned the credibility of some of the information produced in the dossier by Steele, the former head of the Russia desk for the MI6 intelligence service of the United Kingdom.

Graham said the FBI relied on that document “more and more often”, even though it was “fundamentally unfounded”.

“What do we do – we just say it was bad, it goes on like this?” Does anyone get fired? Does anyone go to jail? “If it happened to us, it could happen to you,” Graham said before turning to Democratic allies.

The Senate panel has already heard from former DOJ high-ranking officials Rod Rosenstein and Sally Yates and scheduled testimony from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

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