Democrat accuses FBI Director James Comey of withholding Russia information from lawmakers

"We can't do a complete job unless the director is willing to discuss anything."

ByABC News
March 2, 2017, 6:34 PM

— -- With news swirling about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' contacts with Russian officials before the 2016 election, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee today accused FBI Director James Comey of withholding information about any agency investigation into Russian tampering with the 2016 election.

"In order for us to do our investigation in a thorough and credible way, we're going to need the FBI to fully cooperate... to fully tell us the length and breadth of any counterintelligence investigations they are conducting," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, told reporters after emerging from a classified meeting with Comey. "At this point the director was not willing to do that."

Schiff said Comey declined to answer questions about the "scope" and subjects of any counterintelligence investigation.

"He made it very clear there were certain questions that we were asking that he would answer and others that he would not," he said. "We can't do a complete job unless the director is willing to discuss anything they are investigating."

Last fall, the FBI and others in the intelligence community concluded Russian operatives were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee that could have damaged Hillary Clinton in the November election.

The report did not come to the conclusion as to whether the Russians were successful in their mission to influence the election.

Though President Trump has conceded Moscow likely participated in that cyber assault, he has pushed back on reports that Trump associates had communicated with Russian intelligence officials.

The Intelligence Committee is investigating both the hack itself and alleged communication between Russia and the campaigns, as well as leaks of classified information from within the government.

The lawmaker's comments this morning come on the heels of the news that Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions -- a former Senator and frequent campaign surrogate -- met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the campaign in his official capacity as a member of Congress, yet didn't disclose that meeting when questioned under oath during his confirmation hearing.

Sessions today recused himself from any investigations into presidential campaigns, but said he "never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign."

Several minutes before Schiff spoke to reporters, Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, said Comey was "very forthright" and that he had seen "no evidence" of contact between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.

"I would say at this point we know less than a fraction of what the FBI knows," Schiff said.

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