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FBI head confirms Russia election probe, says Moscow backed Trump

FBI head confirms Russia election probe, says Moscow backed Trump
FBI Director James Comey

Washington, March 21 (Reuters) FBI Director James Comey confirmed for the first time that the bureau is investigating possible ties between Republican Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia as Moscow sought to influence the 2016 US election. Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, made clear that their investigation of Moscow and November's US elections could last for months. Appearing before a congressional panel, Comey also publicly challenged Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his 2016 campaign headquarters in Manhattan's Trump Tower. The two officials spent 5-1/2 hours before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in testimony marked by starkly partisan divides between the panel's majority Republicans and Democrats. Comey refused to back away from his claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not simply want Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to lose the election; he wanted Donald Trump to win. 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. "With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets," Comey said yesterday. The committee is one of several in the US Congress investigating whether Russia tried to influence the election, mostly by hacking Democratic operatives' emails and releasing embarrassing information. Russia denies the allegations. Comey confirmed the FBI has been investigating since July possible Russian efforts to interfere in the election, including any cooperation between Trump's campaign and Moscow. He said that while the Russian government wanted to hurt Clinton's campaign and help Trump's, intelligence agencies made no judgment on whether the efforts influenced the outcome. Comey gave no details of the classified investigation and said the fact that it exists does not mean charges would be filed. US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia tried to help Trump by hacking leading Democrats. PUTIN'S PREFERENCE "I think that was a fairly easy judgment for the (intelligence) community," he said. "Putin hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was he had a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much." Asked about Comey, White House spokesman Sean Spicer read a series of quotes from officials - some from the Obama administration - who have said they have seen no signs of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia. In a tweet before the hearing, Trump wrote: "The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign." Spicer said he was unaware of any White House official being under investigation by the FBI. Trump has frequently urged better relations with Russia, which has been at odds with the United States over Ukraine and the Syrian civil war. Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, detailed activities by Trump associates with ties to Russia, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, who was forced out as Trump's national security adviser after talking to the Russian ambassador and then misrepresenting the conversation to Vice President Mike Pence. "Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible," Schiff said. "But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated." NO 'PHYSICAL' WIRETAP Trump's March 4 tweet about wiretapping pulled attention away from the claims of Russian election interference. He issued his tweet two days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who met with Russia's US ambassador at least twice last year, said he would recuse himself from any investigation of the matter. The White House has contended in recent days that Trump's claim of wiretapping referred to general surveillance of the campaign. The White House has not provided evidence of surveillance of any kind. "Let me be clear: We know there was not a physical wiretap on Trump Tower. However, it's still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates," said Representative Devin Nunes, the committee's Republican chairman. Last week, Trump's spokesman cited a media report that British intelligence was behind the surveillance, prompting ridicule in London. Rogers said the allegation had strained relations with London. "I think it clearly frustrates a key ally of ours," Rogers said. Comey warned that Russia would attempt to influence the next US presidential election in 2020 and perhaps congressional elections next year. "They'll be back in 2020. They may be back in 2018. And one of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sowed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and our democratic process," he said. The rare open congressional intelligence committee hearing revealed a stark partisan divide. Republicans, who hold a majority of seats on the panel, largely concentrated their questions on leaks of classified information to the media - a concern that Trump frequently mentions. Democrats sought to highlight links between the Republican's campaign and Moscow and to shoot down Trump's wiretapping claim. REUTERS RSD 0415

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Prez Trump "gladly accepts" Modi's invite for India visit

Washington, Jun 27 (UNI) The US President Donald Trump would be visiting India soon as Mr Trump today gladly accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to visit India.

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27 Jun 2017 | 8:35 AM
US endorses India on Pak's proxy war, Trump insists on 'rapid' actions on Korea

US endorses India on Pak's proxy war, Trump insists on 'rapid' actions on Korea

Washington, Jun 27 (UNI) In a major diplomatic development, the United States today in a clear manner vindicated India's well known stand vis-a-vis proxy war by Pakistan and in a strong message urged Islamabad to "expeditiously" bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.

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27 Jun 2017 | 8:35 AM
India, US in joint statement ask Pakistan to act against terror perpetrators

India, US in joint statement ask Pakistan to act against terror perpetrators

Washington, Jun 27 (UNI) In a clear message and in quite a diplomatic setback to Islamabad, India and the United States today vowed to strike at the Islamic terrorism and the "safe heavens" and also urged Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice perpetrators of terror attacks like 26/11 and Pathankot.

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27 Jun 2017 | 8:34 AM
Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Rajouri dist

Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Rajouri dist

Jammu, Jun 26 (UNI) Pakistani Army today again violated ceasefire agreement by firing unprovoked on the Line of Control in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.

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26 Jun 2017 | 11:56 PM
Burn victims overwhelm Pakistani hospitals after tanker fire kills 146

Burn victims overwhelm Pakistani hospitals after tanker fire kills 146

By Mubasher Bukhari

LAHORE, Pakistan, Jun 26 (Reuters) Pakistani hospitals today struggled to treat scores of severely burned victims of a fuel tanker explosion that killed at least 146 people, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flew back from an overseas trip to visit the injured.

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26 Jun 2017 | 10:39 PM
All eyes on PM Modi & US President Trump meeting, delegation level talks

All eyes on PM Modi & US President Trump meeting, delegation level talks

Washington, Jun 26 (UNI) All eyes will be on maiden meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Donald Trump as both the leaders are expected to take major issues like regional security, counter terrorism and defence partnership for talks here late tonight.

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26 Jun 2017 | 7:35 PM
GST, 'Transformed India' to help US businesses, says Modi

GST, 'Transformed India' to help US businesses, says Modi

Washington, Jun 26 (UNI) Hours before his first meeting with US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said a "transformed" India presents abundant opportunities for the American businesses.

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26 Jun 2017 | 3:01 PM

UNI NEWS DIGEST AT 2000 HRS FOR JUNE 26, 2017

26 Jun 2017 | 8:05 PM

New Delhi :Jaitley urges Mufti to introduce GST from July 1 (DI 12) Washington :GST, 'Transformed India' to help US businesses, says Modi (DF 1) :All eyes on PM Modi & US President Trump meeting, delegation level talks (DF 2) Patna :Fireworks at its full blaze between JD(U)-RJD over Prez polls (CA 29) New Delhi :Scientist Kasturirangan to head Panel on National Education Policy (DI 11) :Markets closed today on account of Eid-uk-Fitr (DC 1) Chandugarh:Haryana CM says police arrested one accused involved in Junaid killing case (DR 22) Guwahati :Ambubachi Mela ends, CM, others pay obeisance (CA 20) Chennai :Frequent abduction of fishermen show Lanka's intolerant attitude, EPS writes to PM again (MS 13) Vijayawada :Mercury poured on Sabarimala temple mast with devotion: MLA (MS 27) Begaluru :BJP on strong footing to return to power in Karnataka: Yeddyurappa (MS 18) Panaji :2 women booked for hurling abuses at Goa Health Minister, insulting tri-colour (BY 12) Mumbai :55 college students rescued in Raigad (BY 8) Guatape :Search continues for missing after Colombia tourist boat accident (FN 75) New Delhi :Kohli second most followed Indian on Facebook after PM Modi (SPD 11) UNI AKC SHK 2005.

Unemployment looms for Australia's cricketers - union

27 Jun 2017 | 8:14 AM

MELBOURNE, Jun 27 (REUTERS) More than 200 of Australia's top cricketers face unemployment within days, with a bitter pay dispute "extremely" unlikely to be resolved by a deadline on Friday, players' union boss Greg Dyer has said.

MARKET-GUJ-SUGAR

26 Jun 2017 | 7:36 PM

Ahmedabad, Jun 26 (UNI) The Ahmedabad Sugar market showed an easy trend here today.

JPCC celebrates 26th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

21 May 2017 | 6:22 PM

Ranchi, May 21 (UNI) The Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee today paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna late Rajiv Gandhi on his 26th death anniversary which was celebrated by the party as ‘Shahdat Diwas’.

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