Trump Live-Tweets His Favored Moments Of House Intel Hearing On Russia

Michael Kappeler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

President Donald Trump took to his official @POTUS account on Monday to live-tweet the select moments of the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, while remaining silent on the most newsworthy exchanges.

Trump had no comment on FBI Director James Comey’s confirmation that his agency is conducting an ongoing investigation into whether whether members of Trump’s campaign coordinated with the Russian government before the election. He also didn’t react to Comey’s assertion that he has “no information to support” Trump’s claims that Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower.

What Trump did comment on was Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC) apparent suggestion that Obama knew about Flynn’s conversations about sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump’s inauguration. Those exchanges came to light in February by way of news reports citing anonymous current and former U.S. officials, and resulted in Flynn’s resignation.

“Did you brief President Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn?” Gowdy asked Comey.

“I’m not going to get into either that particular case, that matter, or any conversations I had with the President, so I can’t answer that,” Comey replied.

“FBI Director Comey refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia,” Trump tweeted.

Trump also highlighted House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) prolonged questioning of NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers on whether “Russian cyber actors” changed vote counts in any state.

“As of today, Admiral Rogers, do you have any evidence that Russia cyber actors changed vote tallies in the state of Michigan?” Nunes asked.

“No, I do not, but I would highlight we are a foreign intelligence organization, not a domestic intelligence organization,” Rogers replied. “So it would be fair to say we are probably not the best organization to provide a more complete answer.”

“How about the state of Pennsylvania?” Nunes asked.

“No, sir,” Rogers said.

“The state of Wisconsin?” Nunes asked.

“No, sir,” Rogers replied.

Nunes went on to grill Rogers about whether vote counts were changed in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio before he dropped the line of questioning. Rogers answered in the negative to all of Nunes’ inquiries.

“So you have no intelligence that suggests any votes were changed,” Nunes said.

“I have nothing generated by the National Security Agency, sir,” Rogers replied.

“Director Comey, do you have any evidence at the FBI that any votes were changed in the states that I mentioned to Admiral Rogers?” Nunes asked.

“No,” Comey said.

“Russia did not influence electoral process,” Trump tweeted, a claim which Comey flatly shot down later in the hearing.

“As of early December of ’16, did the FBI assess that active measures by the Russians were to undermine the faith in the U.S. democratic process?” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) asked Comey.

“I think we were at that point, yes,” Comey said.

“And then active measures conducted against Secretary Clinton, to denigrate her, hurt her campaign and also undermine her presidency?” Conaway asked.

“Correct,” Comey replied.

“And then the conclusion that active measures were taken specifically to help President Trump’s campaign, by early December you already had that conclusion?”

“Correct. That they wanted to hurt our democracy, hurt her, help him. I think all three we were confident in at least as early as December,” Comey said.

Trump’s last comment on the hearing was levied against one of his favorite targets — leakers within his own administration.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) asked Rogers whether “the 702 program,” apparently referring to a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, is at danger of not being reauthorized because of the leaks, and whether that would hurt national security.

“If it’s a crime, and if it’s unveiling a masked person, and this tool is so important that it can potentially jeopardize this tool when we have to try to reauthorize it in a few months,” he said. “Doesn’t that leak hurt our national security?”

“Yes, sir,” Rogers replied.

The White House has faced a deluge of anonymous leaks from internal sources since Trump’s inauguration. The President has blamed “Obama people” for sharing information with reporters, in what he has called “a criminal action.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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