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Wed, Jun

Trump Russia claims: US intelligence chiefs to give evidence

FBI Director James Comey will talk about possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign

Two US intelligence chiefs are set to testify before Congress about possible links between Russia and President Donald Trump's election campaign.

They will also address Mr Trump's unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped by predecessor Barack Obama.

FBI director James Comey and NSA chief Admiral Mike Rogers will give evidence at a rare open hearing of the congressional intelligence committee.

Mr Trump has called the investigation a "total witch hunt".

Russia denies attempting to influence the US presidential election.

 

What are the allegations?

In January, US intelligence agencies said Kremlin-backed hackers had broken into the email accounts of senior Democrats and released embarrassing ones in order to help Mr Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

A report by the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency (NSA) said Russian leader Vladimir Putin "ordered" a campaign aimed at influencing the election.

Since then, Mr Trump has faced allegations that his campaign team had links to Russian officials.

He allegedly discussed US sanctions with ambassador Sergei Kislyak. It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.

Meanwhile, Mr Sessions was accused by Democrats of lying under oath during his confirmation hearing in January.

He said he had "no communications with the Russians", but it later emerged that he had met Mr Kislyak during the campaign.

Mr Sessions denied any wrongdoing, but removed himself from an FBI inquiry into Russia's alleged interference in the election.

 

What about Mr Trump's claims against Mr Obama?

Monday's hearing is also expected to address President Trump's claims that the Obama administration wiretapped his phone at Trump Tower in New York during the campaign.

Mr Trump has provided no evidence, and senior Republican and Democratic officials have dismissed the idea. Mr Obama's spokesman dismissed the claims.

Mr Nunes told Fox News on Sunday that a review of justice department documents provided on Friday indicated there was no such wiretap.

Several Republicans have said Mr Trump should apologise if he cannot substantiate his claims.

 

What impact have these claims had?

Observers say both allegations have diverted attention from the Trump administration's other policies and progress with political appointments.

Critics say Mr Trump's claim that Mr Obama wiretapped him has damaged the US credibility, and relations with its allies.

Last week, Mr Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer repeated claims by a Fox News analyst that the UK's GCHQ spy agency had helped Mr Obama wiretap Mr Trump.

The claims angered the UK government, and GCHQ rejected the allegations as "utterly ridiculous".

Meanwhile, Mr Trump and some Republicans have called for an investigation into intelligence leaks, including the leak that revealed details of Mr Flynn's phone calls to the Russian ambassador.

 

Credit: The BBC