The FBI has transcripts of conversations between associates of Donald Trump and top Russian officials — but FBI Director James Comey is sitting on those potentially explosive transcripts, according to charges made by Delaware Senator Chris Coons in an interview on the MSNBC cable news channel on Friday.
The FBI is currently conducting a "counterintelligence investigation" into the possible connections between the Russian government and intelligence agencies and the Trump presidential campaign. The contacts came as Russia was, according to United States intelligence agencies, running a clandestine operation involving internet hacking and propaganda, to tip the result of the 2016 U.S. presidential election toward Trump.
The conclusion of the U.S. intelligence agencies has become so widely accepted that even House Speaker Paul Ryan has acknowledged that it is now established fact.
"We know Russia meddled in the election," Ryan said earlier this week. "No one is disputing that. And this last government gave us that information in the first place."
Trump's attorney general, former Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, has been forced to bow out of any investigations into the Trump-Russia scandal due to his own contacts with Russian officials and his apparent lies under oath about them during his Senate confirmation hearings.
In February, Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign over his conversations with Russian officials — conversations he then lied about later. And Trump's own son-in-law, New York real estate baron Jared Kushner, who has become one of Trump's most trusted White House advisers, also met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
But what has never been revealed is the topic or topics discussed in those meetings, and whether if those topics were revealed, they would provide evidence of collusion between the Trump political operation and the Russian government and intelligence services, possible collusion that is now the subject of a congressional inquiry.
On Friday, Coons — a Democrat who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — told MSNBC interviewer Andrea Mitchell that Comey possesses transcripts that could provide evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia. Watch the interview in the video below.
"There are transcripts that provide very helpful, very critical insights into whether or not Russian intelligence and senior Russian political leaders, including Vladimir Putin, were cooperating, were colluding with the Trump campaign at the highest levels to influence the outcome of our election," Coons said in the interview.
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Coons said that he had not personally seen the transcripts, but he believes that they, in fact, do exist and he called on Comey to hand them over to congressional investigators.
On Thursday, California Democrat Adam Schiff, of the House Intelligence Committee — which is conducting a probe of the links between Trump and Russia — slammed Comey and the FBI for withholding what he said could be evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
"I would say at this point we know less than a fraction of what the FBI knows," Schiff said. "We had a long briefing and testimony from (Comey) today, but in order for us to do our investigation in a thorough and credible way, we're going to need the FBI to fully cooperate... At this point, (Comey) was not willing to do that."
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