In his opening statement on March 20 to the House Intelligence Committee about allegations of the Russian government interfering with the 2016 presidential election, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating the matter.
"I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and 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, reports The Washington Post.
He added, "As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed."
But Comey went on to say he would be limited in how much information he could divulge about the matter.
"Because it is an open ongoing investigation and is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining," Comey said. "At the request of congressional leaders, we have taken the extraordinary step in coordination with the Department of Justice of briefing this Congress' leaders, including the leaders of this committee, in a classified setting in detail about the investigation but I can't go into those details here."
He added: "I know that is extremely frustrating to some folks. I hope you and the American people can understand. The FBI is very careful in how we handle information about our cases and about the people we are investigating."
While Comey was clear about the limits of the information he would be able to disclose during the House Intelligence Committee hearing, he did confirm that the FBI "has no information that supports" President Donald Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama ordered surveillance on Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory," Trump tweeted on March 4. "Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"
Since then, Trump has been pressured to deliver evidence of the claim, which could potentially be an illegal act by a former president, but has failed to do so since he first wrote the tweet.
The Trump administration has since explained that Trump's tweet was inspired by a Fox News report that alleged Obama reached out to British intelligence to place surveillance on the Trump campaign, specifically at Trump Tower in Manhattan.