James Comey, 56, appeared in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee with other intelligence chiefs to discuss the alleged Russian hacking of the Republican and Democratic parties and senior party operatives in an attempt to exert an influence on the outcome of the presidential election by damaging Hillary Clinton’s chances as the Republican candidate.
He testified alongside James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, and the heads of the National Security Agency.
“We did not develop any evidence that the Trump campaign, or the current RNC, was successfully hacked. Russia hacked into Republican state political campaigns and old email domains of the Republican National Committee but there is no evidence it successfully penetrated President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign, FBI Director James Comey said on Tuesday. ”
Russia hacked Republican state campaigns but not Trump’s – FBI head
The report, a declassified version of a more than 50-page classified study, concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally approved the cyber attacks and other measures including propaganda and the spread of “fake news” motivated by “a clear preference” for Mr Trump.
Testifying before Congress for the first time since Trump beat Clinton on Nov. 8, Comey has been criticized by Democrats for statements about a separate investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
In contrast, a report released by US intelligence agencies on Friday claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to assist Mr Trump’s electoral chances by attempting to discredit Mrs Clinton.
Russia has denied interfering in the election but President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian suspected spies from the United States and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies last month in response to the allegations.
Mr Putin’s office hit back yesterday over the report and stated the accusations were unfounded and amounted to a witch-hunt.
Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Groundless accusations which are not supported by anything are being rehearsed in an amateurish, unprofessional way. We don’t know what information they are actually relying on.”
“We still don’t know what data is really being used by those who present such unfounded accusations.”