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Three Questions About Russia and the US Presidential Election

by Countable | 3.20.17

The House Intelligence Committee began hearings on Monday into Russia’s alleged influence in the 2016 US presidential election, and the country’s possible ties with the campaign of Donald. J. Trump. The Intelligence Committee took testimony from FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Chief, Admiral Michael S. Rogers.

House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said the committee needed answers to three key questions:

  1. What actions did Russia undertake during the 2016 election? Did anyone from a political campaign conspire in these activities?

  2. Were the communications of any Trump campaign official subject to improper or inadvertent surveillance? If so, was that surveillance consistent with existing law?

  3. Who leaked classified information about that surveillance to the media?

But the committee’s questioning didn’t start with Russia.

Instead, FBI Director Comey and NSA Chief Rogers were asked if there was any evidence that former President Obama had authorized wiretaps of then-candidate Trump during the 2016 election. Recently, President Trump alleged as much in several tweets.

Both Comey and Rogers testified that neither they nor the agencies they lead have evidence of such surveillance.

"We have looked carefully inside the FBI," Comey told the committee; “I have no information that supports those tweets.”

Director Comey did verify that there is an active investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. This is an unusual step, to verify the existence of a current investigation, but Comey noted that, given the "unusual circumstances," he had been authorized to do so by the Justice Department.

Both Rogers and Comey testified that the Russian government sought to influence the US election in multiple ways. Further questioning from both Democrats and Republicans, though, lead the witnesses to respond that they could not elaborate on classified information.

Another line of questioning, lead by top Republicans, focused on the leaks of classified information to the press. Such leaks are illegal and some suggested they may be used to mislead the media. Democrats countered that the leaks may be coming from the White House itself.

As for President Trump, he tweeted along with the hearing, focusing on the leaks and contradicting FBI Director Comey’s testimony; Trump maintains that any evidence of Russian involvement in the election was made up by the Democrats.

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: )

Countable

Written by Countable

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  • Carolyn
    03/21/2017
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    Seriously??? We have evidence that Russia interfered in our election and yet members of our government ask questions about Obama wire tapping Trump? What has happened to our country???? We have people in positions of power who feed into false statements our seriously disturbed president makes while ignoring actual credible information based on real facts. It is time for Congress to pull itself together and impeach Trump. Not only is he a danger to our country's future but he might very well be a danger to our country's survival as an independent nation. We are like Rome collapsing from the inside.

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  • Colin
    03/21/2017
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    We the people demand a thorough investigation into Trump and his contact with Russia. We know for a fact that Russia interfered in the election. We know for a fact that they do so to help Trump win. We need to know how involved Trump was in this process and we need to know now.

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  • CarMar17
    03/21/2017
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    Demand a full investigation regarding Russia's involvement in hacking our 2016 Presidential election.

    Like (23)
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  • Joseph
    03/21/2017
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    Keep pressing forward. Russian government has attacked our democracy and all who were involved must be punished.

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  • Bonnie
    03/21/2017
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    I urge you to keep the pressure on this illegitimate, treasonous administration and their ties with Russia. We deserve to know what's really going on - they work for us. Do not let up. We look to you, our representatives, to shed light on what they would obfuscate.

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  • Tiffany
    03/21/2017
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    Russia attempted to influence our election and there needs to be an independent investigation about their involvement as well as their connection to the Trump campaign.

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  • Justin
    03/21/2017
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    If millions can be devoted to investigating Benghazi then these allegations of treason deserve the full support of congress and the senate. Anything less means you're part of the conspiracy.

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  • Joyce
    03/21/2017
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    I urge you to put the Supreme Court nomination hearings (and any other important legislation) on hold until the ties to Trump and the Russian government is sorted out. This is absolutely appalling that facts are coming out to support collusion between the Trump campaign and V Putin. We must maintain our democracy!

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  • Mavis
    03/21/2017
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    Our election was compromised. Please put our democracy before your political party /power. We deserve the truth of any collusion between Trump and Russian operatives.

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  • Harmony
    03/21/2017
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    Trump's wire-tapping allegations are yet another attempt to avert attention from his Russian connections & their influence upon the election. They absolutely need to investigate every detail of his administration and any and all connections with Russian involvement.

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  • S
    03/21/2017
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    Republican intel committee members: Be good stewards of American democracy instead of following a preconceived party line. Do you want the truth about possible collision with Russia? Your line of questioning is apparent that you're doing what serves your own purpose of defending Trump with your sole interest in the leaks and not what may have occurred. You look the other way while America gets sabotaged. Thank goodness for Comey. He and the Dems seem to be the only ones who want the truth.

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  • Flygirl
    03/21/2017
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    It is of utmost importance for this to be investigated as if it were the most important investigation in history because it actually is! Please handle it with kid gloves & don't allow any evidence fall by to fall by the wayside. The American people deserve to know the truth. It's painfully obvious that literally everyone in Trump's cabinet has ties to Russia. It's no coincidence. Impeach & drain this swamp!

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  • Margaret
    03/21/2017
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    When you find out your doctor is incompetent and/or misrepresenting themselves, do you remain under their care? Then why do we allowing this 'President' to continue to preside over our country? In just two months, the following has taken place: -Trump was going to donate his salary? Well he just accepted his second paycheck. -Trump said Mexico was going to pay for the wall? He has asked Congress to appropriate the $25 billion of taxpayer money to cover costs. -Trump said he was going to divest from his businesses? Changed his mind. -Trump said he was going to release his tax returns? Changed his mind. -Trump said he wasn't going to go on vacation or play golf? Five of the last 7 weekends he went on vacation and played golf, costing taxpayers $11.1 million. -Trump said he was going to use American steel to build these dangerous pipelines? Russian steel arrived last week for the Keystone Pipeline XL. -Trump said would defeat ISIS in 30 days? He still doesn't even have a plan. -Trump said he was going to appropriate money to HBCUs? He lied to get a photo-op. -Trump said he was going to drain the swamp of Washington insiders? His cabinet is filled with lobbyists, oil and Wall Street executives. -Trump said he wasn't going to cut social security and Medicare? The Republican bill does just this. -Trump said that nobody on his campaign had any communications with Russian government? Seven of his people have now admitted they spoke and/or met with Russian officials, after they lied and got caught (one even changed his status to 'foreign agent'). -Trump said that the Obamacare (ACA) replacement would cover more people at lower cost? The AHCA that the GOP are now pushing; they now admit will cover fewer people at a higher cost. The above does NOT include Trump's distracting false accusations and attacks towards those he believes are his adversaries. Trump's "Make America Great" rhetoric doesn't include the middle class and poor, as proven in Indiana (jobs STILL went to Mexico). Do you truly believe Trump will keep his promises during his term of office? Republicans and Democrats need to put their party loyalties on hold and band together for the well being of our Country, Constitution and American citizens whom they serve. It WILL cost the tax payer more money to undo the damages this President will create down the road. The credibility of our governing body, respect of our democracy, the safety of our country, and the survival of the 99% American people is at stake. So, disregard the dog and pony show the Executive branch is displaying because we ARE being duped. Congress, do your job - work FOR the people, not the lobbyists, corporations or other special interest groups. We voted you in, we CAN replace you. It's OUR constitutional right!!

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  • Leslie
    03/21/2017
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    Our country needs a thorough, bipartisan, transparent, and independent investigation into the Russian influence on the election and the Trump administration's possible collision with Russia during the election. We NEED an independent prosecutor to investigate.

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  • Christopher
    03/21/2017
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    Donald Trump's farcical claim that President Obama wiretapped him and the GOP's cynical focus on the source of White House leaks are both distractions from the main issue; a hostile foreign power successfully tampered with our electoral process and rewrote our history. To what extent those who profited from this act of war were aware of it and whether or not they helped to make it happen are questions of existential importance to our republic. If any person or persons can be shown to have conspired with a foreign enemy to degrade our democratic institutions, then let them be removed from whatsoever office they hold, no matter how high, and prosecuted with the full weight and force of the law. Congress should suspend hearings for the Supreme Court nominee and block all major policy decisions by this White House until both its legitimacy and loyalty can be determined to the satisfaction of the American people.

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  • John
    03/21/2017
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    Today's hearing demonstrated the need for an independent investigation into the Russian hacking scandal and the nature of any relationship between members of the Trump campaign and Russia. Devin Nunes, Trey Gowdy and others seem more animated by a desire to minimize this story than get to the bottom of it. It is in the interest of both parties to demand an independent investigation as the only way to determine the truth for the American people.

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  • Sarah
    03/21/2017
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    Yes! We need and independent investigation.

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  • Stacey
    03/21/2017
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    Please postpone Gorsuch hearings until more facts are uncovered about Trump's ties with Russia. We do not need to appoint more people that may end up tied to Russia.

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  • Don
    03/21/2017
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    This is a watershed moment in our history. In my 75 years it's always been considered a matter of fact that our government and officials of that government were, at the very least, honest and loyal to our Nation. Currently that is not the case. As elected officials it behooves you to be loyal to our nation even if that means standing opposed to the leaders. We must have a full, complete and unfettered investigation of who, what, when and how the Russian government interfered with or manipulated how our government functions. Do your job!!

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  • Travis
    03/21/2017
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    I am in favor of a full investigation as to the Trump Administration's ties towards Russia. Let the truth be brought into the light.

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