The directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NSA are to give keenly awaited testimony before Congress Monday on what ties President Donald Trump may have with Russian Federation and his explosive allegation that he was wiretapped by his predecessor Barack Obama.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.
Comey sent the October 28 letter to Congress over the warnings of Justice Department officials that doing so would be inconsistent with department policy meant to avoid the appearance of prosecutorial interference or meddling in elections. In a second letter dated November 5, Comey said the new material did not change the FBI's decision to not recommend charges against Clinton - but Democrats believe that re-airing the scandal days before most voters went to the polling booths hurt their candidate.
But despite the difficulty of discussing classified data in an open hearing, there were a number of revelations.
At the White House, Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to downplay the role of Flynn and Paul Manafort, the second of three Trump campaign managers, both of whom were removed from positions for their connections to Russian Federation.
Trump created a controversy in early March when he tweeted without giving evidence that Obama had wiretapped his campaign while the businessman competed against Clinton.
Yet Monday's hearings left the White House scrambling for cover, though there was little to be found. "I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI", Comey said.
Meanwhile, NSA director Michael Rogers dismissed the White House suggestion that Obama asked British intelligence to spy on Trump - a claim already angrily rejected the United Kingdom.
Several past tweets, like the ones mentioned above, were occasionally introduced into the hearing for discussion - but a very recent tweet was also raised as an issue. The Russia hearings came as Trump tried to give a hard sell to Republicans wary of his health care package, a legislative gamble with long-lasting implications for Trump's relationship with his own party.
In fact, the two men had testified that there was no evidence Russian Federation directly changed votes, like by hacking voting machines.
Mr Manafort issued a statement on Monday defending himself against suggestions he played a part in Russia's efforts to interfere with the U.S. presidential campaign.
"Is that accurate?" Schiff asked Comey.
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"There is certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation", he added. Comey said that no President could order a wiretapping operation against a specific American citizen.
But there was an obvious difference in how the committee's Democratic and Republican lawmakers approached the questioning. They acknowledged a lack of hard evidence but said that is a reason for more investigation, not less.
Ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., exemplified this approach in his lengthy opening remarks.
That could explain denials by people at the center of the Trump-Russia imbroglio, including former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who resigned after reports about his connections to pro-Kremlin government factions in Ukraine. "Yes, it is possible", Schiff said. "And so to start to look at some individual who was there for a short period of time, or separately individuals who really didn't play a role in the campaign and suggest those are the basis for anything, is a bit ridiculous". Clapper is the former national intelligence director.
The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking into computers at the DNC. Who released the information and why they leaked it needs to be uncovered.
Comey said Monday that Russian Federation "hates" Clinton and wanted her to lose the election; he added that officials believe both political parties were hacked in 2016, but only Democratic emails were released. The FBI investigation means the Russian Federation story isn't made up, and won't go away.
CIA Director John Brennan is scheduled to speak with the house committee next week. Comey confirmed the real and serious focus of the investigation.
Comey's testimony ensures that the controversy over Trump's connections to Russian Federation will continue to dog his tenure as president and slow down the President's efforts in Congress.
"I think we have to assume they're coming back", Comey said. Or an American might fall in love with someone and not realize they're in a relationship with a foreign agent: "Romance could be a feature", he said.
Both men deny any wrongdoing.
There is one crime, Krauthammer said, "the unmasking of the leaking of the Flynn name".