James Comey Trump Russia Hearing: 5 Incredible Moments Nobody Is Talking About

Jonathan Vankin

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey made some major headlines at Monday's first House Intelligence Committee public hearing into the connections between Donald Trump and Russia, perhaps the most startling being Comey's revelation that the FBI is actively investigating Trump and his associates in connection with "the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election."

Comey also made big news by directly contradicting Trump's claim earlier in March that President Barack Obama "wire tapped" Trump's phones in Trump Tower, saying that the FBI "has no information that supports" Trump's claim — for which Trump himself has offered no evidence.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

Though Comey didn't specify how many voter registration databases had been infiltrated by the Russian hackers, earlier reports indicated the number could be at least 20.

Why is it important that the hackers got into voter databases? According to investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald, even altering the spelling of a voter's name could strip that voter's eligibility in some states.

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 20, 2017

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, the document-leaking site WikiLeaks published thousands of private emails stolen from Democratic National Committee servers, and from Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta. United States intelligence says that those stolen emails were given to WikiLeaks by the Russians, but WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has flatly denied that his source was Russia or any "state party."

But at Monday's hearing, Comey said that Russia used a third party — called a "cut out" in intelligence terminology — to send the material to Wikileaks, as seen in the following video clip from the hearing.

— Oscar Paez (@EL10PAEZ) March 20, 2017

But who would that "cut out" actually be? The answer to that question was not revealed by Comey, but could prove important to unlocking the answers to the Trump-Russia connection.

But significantly, the Russian hackers never released any stolen emails or other documents from any Republican organization.

"There were efforts to penetrate organizations associated with the Republican party and that -- I think that is what we said in the report," Comey testified.

"And that there were not releases of material taken -- hacked from any Republican associated organizations."

"They were unusually loud in their intervention. It's almost as if they didn't care that we knew," Comey told the Intelligence Committee.

"Their loudness, in a way, would be counting on us to amplify it by telling the American people what we saw and freaking people out about how the Russians might be undermining our elections successfully."

Comey admitted that he and the FBI did not do enough to stop the cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. If he had taken more steps, the results of the election may have turned out differently.

If he knew in 2015, when the FBI first learned of the cyber-attack, what he knew today, Comey said, he would have taken extraordinary measures to alert the DNC to the danger it faced.

"We'd have sent up a much larger flare. We'd have just kept banging and banging on the door knowing what I know now. We made extensive efforts to notify. I might have walked over there myself knowing what I know now."

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[Featured Image by Zach Gibson/Getty Images]