Ahead of FBI Director James Comey's congressional testimony about alleged Russian government interference during the 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump ridiculed the unsubstantiated narrative that the Russian government helped him defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!" Trump tweeted. "The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!"
Trump continued: "The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!"
Trump also alleged that the Democrats have met with Russian government contacts on numerous occasions.
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"What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?" Trump wrote.
In his opening statement to the House Intelligence Committee, Comey confirmed hat the FBI is investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
"That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts," Comey said, according to CNN.
And in response to questions, Comey also acknowledged the realm of possibility for a motive, although hard evidence was not mentioned.
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"He -- [Russian President Vladimir] Putin -- hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was he had a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much," Comey said.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, pondered the possibility of U.S. citizens helping Russian government sources interfere in the United States' electoral process.
"Many of Trump's campaign personnel, including the president himself, have ties to Russia and Russian interests. This is, of course, no crime," Schiff said. "On the other hand, if the Trump campaign, or anybody associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of our democracy in history."
"Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated. ... Yes, it is possible," Schiff continued. "It is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt US persons that they employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don't know, not yet, and we owe it to the country to find out."