FBI Director James Comey confirms investigation of Trump-Russia ties

The allegations are not just a Democratic fever dream.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

FBI Director James Comey opened Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing with a big reveal: The FBI is, in fact, investigating Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election, including links between the Trump campaign and Russian government and any coordination between the two.

This directly contradicts statements made both by President Trump himself as well as his administration. Monday morning — likely in anticipation of Comey’s hearing — Trump tweeted that any insinuation of collusion between him and Russia is “FAKE NEWS” and that Democrats simply invented the scandal. He nevertheless insisted that the leakers responsible for that information getting out should be investigated.

Likewise, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that he was not sure if Trump was being investigated, but after being handed a slip of paper by an aide, he asserted, “There is no reason to believe there is any type of investigation with respect to the Department of Justice.” The FBI operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice.

Congressional Republicans seem confused about their messaging. For example, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tweeted before Comey started speaking that there is “no evidence of Trump collusion [with] Russia.”

If the FBI is still investigating that very question, as Comey said during his testimony, then Grassley’s tweet seems to be unfounded. His follow-up tweet reflected that confusion.

In the wake of Comey’s confirmation of the investigation, it remains to be seen if the congressional Republicans defending Trump will continue to insist that the FBI should be investigating the leaks of the classified information that raise these concerns, but not the concerns themselves.