By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director James Comey met with senior congressional leaders, including heads of intelligence committees, on Thursday, FBI and congressional officials said.
Officials declined to discuss the issue of Comey’s meeting with the group of leaders known as the “Gang of Eight.”
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has alleged that the Obama administration listened to his election campaign.
The Gang of Eight, which routinely has access to highly classified materials, includes House Speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and their top Democrat, Adam Schiff.
Members of the Senate include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the top Republican and Democrat on the intelligence committee, Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner.
The House intelligence committee on Wednesday asked the Justice Department in a letter for copies of documents that, if they exist, could shed light on Trump’s impeachment.
A law enforcement source said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was in discussions with the Justice Department’s Division of Homeland Security about how to respond to inquiries from the public and Congress about the existence or non-existence of such eavesdropping.
If the Trump campaign or advisers were actually wiretapped, the most likely legal avenue for the Obama administration to do so would be for the Justice Department to ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to eavesdrop.
Trump on Saturday accused his predecessor Barack Obama of having listened to him during the latter stages of the campaign, but offered no evidence of an accusation that an Obama spokesman said was “simply false.”
The intelligence committee’s letter, addressed to Dana Boente, the United States Deputy Attorney General, also requests copies of court orders and any electronic surveillance orders related to Trump or his associates issued last year by a judge. or federal magistrate. under a broad law against crime.
Reuters saw a copy of the letter, signed by Nunes and Schiff, on Thursday. The letter has not been made public.
Nunes said Tuesday that he had seen no evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping allegation.
Law enforcement sources have said the FBI is conducting a comprehensive counterintelligence investigation of alleged contacts between Trump and Russian partners, as well as two separate investigations into Russia-linked pre-election email hacking, which focused primarily on Democratic political operatives.
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