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Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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Hours before the start of Monday’s long-awaited House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, President Donald Trump sent a tweet saying the “real story” is “the leaking of Classified information” about his administration. Republicans on the committee were apparently on the same page.

The partisan divide in questioning was stark: an overwhelming number of the questions Republicans directed to FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers focused on the national security risks and criminal consequences of leaking classified material to the press, while Democrats on the committee honed in on the explosive revelations that those leaks brought to light.

Over the course of the five-and-a-half-hour long hearing, Democrats surfaced the links between and Russian officials and Trump associates, Russia’s cyberattacks of U.S. systems, and Trump’s baseless allegation that he had his “wires tapped” by former President Barack Obama.

But Republicans barely touched on those subjects, staying laser-focused on leaks to the press—even suggesting, without evidence, that top Obama administration officials could be responsible for the leaks that led to the ouster of Trump's first national security adviser.

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FBI Director James Comey on Monday declined to answer questions about whether President Donald Trump either was under investigation during the 2016 election campaign or is currently.

Comey urged observers not to “overinterpet” his non-answers to questions from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference in the election.

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NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers agreed Monday that it was “utterly ridiculous” to allege that his agency's British counterpart, GCHQ, helped former President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Donald Trump during the election.

The White House has surfaced reports to that effect in the past few weeks in order to back up the President’s unfounded assertion that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower, leading it to eventually issue a formal apology to the British government.

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