The FBI scrutinized four Americans with some connection to Donald Trump’s campaign starting in the summer of 2016 for potentially helping the Kremlin meddle in the presidential election, former FBI Director James Comey revealed in testimony to Congressional investigators..
The details were made public for the first time on Saturday when the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees released the transcript of Friday’s seven-hour, closed-door interview with Comey.
Comey’s statements provide new information about the timing of the federal government’s probe into the 2016 presidential election between Trump and Democrat Party nominee Hillary Clinton, and could offer new clues about what’s coming down the pipeline from the Department of Justice.
Comey’s revelation comes as the Special Counsel’s Office is picking up speed in its issuing of sentencing and cooperation memos for several former Trump associates. In the past two weeks Robert Mueller’s team has provided the public with vast new details about the lies of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the cooperation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the nefarious business dealings of Michael Cohen.
Comey divulged the details of the four Americans connected to Trump in an exchange with Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy.
“Late July of 2016, the FBI did, in fact, open a counterintelligence investigation into, is it fair to say the Trump campaign or Donald Trump himself?” Gowdy asked.
“It’s not fair to say either of those things, in my recollection,” Comey replied. “We opened investigations on four Americans to see if there was any connection between those four Americans and the Russian interference effort. And those four Americans did not include the candidate.”
Comey did not name the four Americans. But he mentioned them again later in the interview when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat, pressed him further.
“Those individuals were affiliated with the campaign?” she said. “I believe they were in some form.”
“At least some of them were,” he replied. “The FBI and the Department of Justice have not confirmed the names of those…
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