President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of fabricating allegations of election interference against Russia and creating more ‘fake news.’
A series of three tweets came just hours before a congressional hearing on Russia.
The House Intelligence Committee will hear from FBI Director James Comey about whether U.S. officials believe Russia tried to bolster Trump’s chances in the election – and if there were any connections between Moscow and Trump’s campaign aides.
Trump tweeted Monday: ‘The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!’
A separate tweet referred to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama, who has said that Trump’s allegation that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower is false.
President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of fabricating allegations of election interference against Russia and creating more ‘fake news’
FBI Director James Comey will testify before the House Intelligence Committee at a hearing aimed at probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election
‘James Clapper and others stated there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it.’
Trump also tweeted that the ‘real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!’
In addition to Comey, National Security Agency director Mike Rogers will speak publicly for the first time about the two issues, which have riveted the American public for weeks and further divided the country’s two ever-at-odds political parties.
The stakes for the tycoon-turned-world-leader could hardly be higher.
Comey will testify before the House Intelligence Committee at a hearing aimed at probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election campaign. Rogers is also scheduled to testify.
Trump and his entourage’s possible ties with the Russia of President Vladimir Putin have been the subject of much speculation since before he was elected on November 8.
US intelligence agencies in January took the extraordinary step of stating publicly that they had concluded that hackers working for Russia broke into the email accounts of senior Democrats and released embarrassing ones with the aim of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
Even since then, the question of whether Trump and company were or are somehow in cahoots with Russia has dominated the national conversation.
A congressional panel so far has found no evidence that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, its chairman said Sunday.
Based on ‘everything I have up to this morning — no evidence of collusion,’ by Trump’s team and Moscow, Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News.
‘Was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No, but there never was, and the information we got on Friday continues to lead us in that direction,’ Nunes stressed.
US President Donald Trump — who has long denied any ties to Moscow — spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on January 28
Moscow has denied involvement in the hacks, and Trump has denounced the tumult over alleged Russia connections as a ‘total witch hunt.’
Monday’s hearing was also expected to address a second explosive issue: Trump’s unsubstantiated accusations that the Obama administration wiretapped his phone at Trump Tower in New York during the campaign.
Trump on March 4 tweeted that Obama had ‘tapped’ his phone — a charge that has consumed political debate in the US capital.
– ‘Wild goose chase’ –
Several congressional panels have launched investigations into Russia’s alleged interference, including the House and Senate intelligence committees, which have jurisdiction over the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, and the House and Senate judiciary committees.
The FBI is also probing Russian interference in the election.
President Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets on Monday in advance of a congressional hearing about allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia
The question remains whether the agency has opened a criminal investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials.
Monday’s hearing promises to be a very public showdown between the FBI and lawmakers, with the national security world certain to watch whether Comey drops a political bombshell.
Members of Congress have expressed frustration over what they call the lack of cooperation from the FBI about Russia and Trump’s wiretap claim, which Obama and an array of other officials have flatly denied.
‘I hope that we can put an end to this wild goose chase,’ California Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, a House intelligence committee member, said.
‘What the president said was just patently false. And the wrecking ball it has created has just banged into our British allies and our German allies and it´s continuing to grow in terms of damage and he needs to put an end to this,’ Schiff told NBC.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (right) and fellow lawmaker Adam Schiff say they have found no evidence that President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia
Michael Flynn was forced to quit as US national security advisor over his contacts with the Russian ambassador before the 2016 election
The issue of wiretapping first surfaced last month, when Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign after it was revealed he had misled top officials over his contacts with the Russian ambassador to Washington to discuss sanctions Obama had just announced against Russia over the election hacking.
Around the same time, The New York Times reported that US intelligence had intercepted calls showing that members of Trump’s campaign had repeated contacts with top Russian intelligence officials in the year preceding the election.
Nunes has said that the intelligence committee probe focuses in part on who revealed that Flynn had unreported private contacts with the Russians over the sanctions issue.