FBI Director James Comey (L) shakes hand with National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers after they testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Russian actions during the 2016 election campaign in the Longworth House Office Building on March 20, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas KammNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

By Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker, (c) 2017, The Washington Post

On the 60th day of his presidency came the hardest truth for Donald Trump.

He was wrong.

James B. Comey – the FBI director whom Trump celebrated on the campaign trail as a gutsy and honorable “Crooked Hillary” truth-teller – testified under oath Monday what many Americans had already assumed: Trump had falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping his headquarters during last year’s campaign.

Trump did not merely allege that former President Barack Obama ordered surveillance on Trump Tower, of course. He asserted it as fact, and then reasserted it, and then insisted that forthcoming evidence would prove him right.

But in Monday’s remarkable, marathon hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey said there was no such evidence. Trump’s claim, first made in a series of tweets on March 4 at a moment when associates said he was feeling under siege and stewing over the struggles of his young presidency, remains unfounded.

Comey did not stop there. He confirmed publicly that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and associates with Russia, part of an extraordinary effort by an adversary to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election in Trump’s favor.

Questions about Russia have hung over Trump for months, but the president always has dismissed them as “fake news.” That became much harder Monday after the FBI director proclaimed the Russia probe to be anything but fake.

“There’s a smell of treason in the air,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said. “Imagine if J. Edgar Hoover or any other FBI director would have testified against a sitting president? It would have been a mind-boggling event.”

FBI Director James Comey (L) shakes hand with National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers after they testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

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