Comey confirms: The FBI is investigating Russian interference in the election and possible links with the Trump campaign; Update: No evidence to support Trump's wiretapping tweets

The worst possible news for the White House. Comey revealed just enough to stoke public suspicions, confirming that they’re looking at potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but gave no further details with which to judge how credible those suspicions are. The big news is that the investigation is ongoing — and because it is, he can’t do a lengthy assessment like he did last July in assessing the culpability of Hillary Clinton and her associates in Emailgate, which came after that probe had been closed. He didn’t even clear Trump here, stating that because the investigation is active, he can’t say more about what’s happening “and whose conduct we are examining.”

He’ll be asked about wiretapping, or any other form of surveillance, at Trump Tower sometime soon. Stand by for updates.

Update: Trump seemed to be expecting bad news this morning, tweeting this hours before the hearing:

Update: Hmmmmm:

Grassley’s a Republican, of course, so he’s probably hinting here that Comey told him they’re not investigating Trump. Which would fit with the reporting on this: Various names have been tossed around in news stories about possible targets of the FBI probe, most notably Paul Manafort, but I can’t recall seeing a single credible claim that Trump himself is being looked at.

Update: As expected:

That also fits with the reporting on this. Per the Times, Comey was itching to speak up publicly after Trump first accused Obama of wiretapping him but the DOJ told him not to say anything. I assume Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the committee, is going to push Comey to say whether any sort of surveillance was conducted. Stay tuned.

Update: A bad day for the White House gets worse. Mike Rogers say there’s nothing to Andrew Napolitano’s claim, repeated on Thursday by Sean Spicer, that Obama used Britain’s GCHQ to spy on Trump:

Update: Comey and Rogers both acknowledged this morning that there’s no evidence to believe that Russia changed any vote totals to help Trump win the election. Literally no one has seriously alleged that, and Obama specifically refuted the charge before leaving the office, but a sloppy media and a credulous Democratic base means that plenty of people have come to believe it.

Update: Comey says the Russia investigation began last July. They’re eight months into this.

Update: It’s not Manafort who’s figuring most largely at today’s hearing, surprisingly. It’s Roger Stone, who admitted recently to having been in touch (briefly) with the hacker Guccifer 2.0, who also admitted to having opened a channel during the campaign to Wikileaks, and who was recently told by the Senate Intel Committee to preserve any evidence related to Russia. Observers noticed this within the past hour:

Leading Stone to respond:

Update: I forgot that Trump is holding a rally tonight in Kentucky, ostensibly to sell the House health-care bill! Odds that he’ll digress to attack Comey, Rogers, and the intelligence community instead: High.

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