FBI director forced to fact-check Trump’s live tweets in real time
A tweet attributed to the President of the United States was fact-checked in real time today by FBI Director James Comey, who also dispelled the Trump administration’s contention that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in the months leading up to the election.
Comey was on the hill for a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the ongoing investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia when he found himself in the unique position of testifying about a Trump tweet about testimony that included testimony about a Trump tweet.
The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process. pic.twitter.com/d9HqkxYBt5
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 20, 2017
California Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat, read the message out loud to Comey and NSA director Michael Rogers, who both confirmed they did not say what Trump’s tweet claimed they said.
“We said the US intelligence community does not do analysis or reporting on the U.S. political process,” NSA director Michael Rogers confirmed.
“So that’s not quite accurate that tweet?” Himes asked Comey. “This tweet has gone out to millions of Americans – 16.1 million to be exact. Is the tweet, as I read it to you, the NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process. Is that accurate?”
FBI Director Comey responds to Trump's live tweets while testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee pic.twitter.com/3nVfMGIuaD
— VICE News (@vicenews) March 20, 2017
“We’ve offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact, because it’s never something that we looked at,” Comey said. “It certainly wasn’t our intention to say that today, because we don’t have any information on that subject, and that’s not something that was looked at.”
Earlier in the nearly five-hour hearing, Comey also disputed a different set of Trump tweets – these sent from the President’s personal twitter account – alleging President Obama had installed a wire “tapp” on Trump Tower.
“I have no information that supports those tweets,” Comey said.
Two other senior officials came forward Monday saying the White House had twisted their words – former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, who were both named in a White House press briefing as clearing the Trump administration of any collusion with Russia.
In a statement, Clapper said he did not know about any evidence gathered after Jan. 20 and Coons, citing circumstantial evidence to support allegations of collusion, advised Press Secretary Sean Spicer that he “would do well to quote me accurately and fully in the future.”