No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion: White House
The White House has said there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion, hours after the FBI confirmed that it was probing Russia's meddling in last year's presidential polls, including possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer at a daily briefing at the White House in Washington (AP Photo)
Washington: The White House has said there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion, hours after the FBI confirmed that it was probing Russia's meddling in last year's presidential polls, including possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
"Following this testimony, it's clear that nothing has changed. Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm that there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion.
"The Obama CIA director said so, Obama's director of national intelligence said so, and we take them at their word," the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters at his daily news conference.
However, there was some new information that came from the hearing that we believe is newsworthy about the intelligence-gathering process and the unmasking of Americans identified in intelligence reports, and the illegal leak of such unmasked individuals, which is a federal crime, he said.
"Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that certain political appointees in the Obama administration had access to the names of unmasked US citizens, such as senior White House officials, senior Department of Justice officials, and senior intelligence officials.
"Before Obama left office, Michael Flynn was unmasked and then illegally his identity was leaked out to media outlets, despite the fact that, as NSA Director Rogers said, that unmasking and revealing individuals endangers "national security," Spicer alleged.
"Not only was Flynn's identity made available, Director Comey refused to answer the question of whether or not he'd actually briefed President Obama on his phone calls and activities.
Director Comey called these types of disclosures of classified information a threat to national security, and said he will investigate and pursue these matters to the full extent of law," Spicer said.
Comey also said the leaking of classified information had become "unusually active" in the timeframe in question.
"It's also important to note that both Directors Comey and Rogers told the committee that they have no evidence that votes were changed in the swing states the President had won," said the White House Press Secretary.
Spicer said the confirmation by FBI Director that the agency is investigating links between the Trump administration and Russia does not prove anything.
"Investigating it and having proof of it are two different things," he said.
"I think there's a difference between talking about an investigation into the 2016 election, which we all know, and any evidence of collusion. There is no evidence, according to the people that have been briefed, of any collusion or activity that leads them to believe that that exists.
"I think that is an important point that gets overlooked over and over and over again," Spicer said.