Lawmakers seek FBI, NSA answers on Trump, Russia at rare public hearing

David Sarasohn

The House Intelligence Committee received a set of documents Friday from the Justice Department in response to their request for materials regarding President Donald Trump's accusation that then-President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower during the campaign.

Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey will be in the hot seat Monday facing lawmakers who accuse him of stonewalling Congress, as they demand answers about Donald Trump's potential Russian Federation ties and the president's extraordinary accusation of wiretapping by his predecessor.

"What the president said was just patently false", Schiff said of the Trump Tower allegations, "and the wrecking ball it created has now banged into our British allies and our German allies and continuing to grow in terms of damage. No, but there never was, and the information we got on Friday continues to lead us in that direction", Nunes stressed.

"There was no FISA warrant that I'm aware of to tap Trump Tower", Nunes said on "Fox News Sunday" of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"I'll give you a very simple answer: no", Nunes said, when asked by host Chris Wallace if he had "seen any evidence of any collusion between" what Wallace called "Trump World, any associates and campaign officials", and the Russians "to swing the 2016 election".

"For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russian Federation poses", committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said.

"We need to find out what the facts are", Mr. Cruz said.

"Of course, there's one thing to say there's evidence; there's another thing to say we can prove this or prove it beyond a reasonable doubt", he said.

The committee leadership - and the president - remain concerned with leaks. Nunes also reiterated his concern about data collection involving former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and the leaks of information about Flynn's s with the Russian envoy during the campaign.

Trump and his entourage's possible ties with the Russian Federation of President Vladimir Putin have been the subject of much speculation since before he was elected on November 8. On Monday, the White House started softening his claims, with spokesman Sean Spicer saying the president was referring more broadly to general surveillance that may have been approved by the Obama administration.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Trump "owes" Congress, and the American people an "explanation" behind his claims.

Republican Rep. Tom Cole told reporters Friday that Trump should say sorry to Obama if he couldn't support his claims.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz - Trump's vanquished rival a year ago for the Republican presidential nomination - said the wiretapping charges are not entirely "outlandish" and should be investigated. "So when you hear these outlandish comments, what I keep thinking is that there's a real possibility that the president is undermining these relationships". I was the dude in the back alleys at 4 in the morning collecting intelligence to protect our homeland.

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. He said that communications from Americans, including Trump, may have been picked up through ongoing surveillance of foreigners.

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