WASHINGTON, U.S. - As the Trump administration faces a make-or-break week, starting with a hearing that will prove to be potentially politically damaging for the new leadership - Trump delivered another shocker.
On Monday morning, in yet another accusation on Twitter, U.S. President Donald Trump said, “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”
In January, the U.S. Intelligence Community concluded and revealed in a declassified report that Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an information campaign aimed at helping Trump win the White House.
Trump said on Twitter that Former national intelligence director “James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!”
Trump’s accusation came hours before one of the several congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. Presidential Elections, was to hold a hearing.
The hearing before the House Intelligence Committee is expected to be the greatest public accounting of investigations that have overshadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.
Trump said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks instead.
He said, “The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!"
FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers are scheduled to speak publicly for the first time about two issues that have divided the country’s two political parties.
The hearing is set to put Comey in a difficult situation as he would be asked to discuss an ongoing investigation tied to the campaign of the president.
In January, Comey refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russia.
This has been FBI’s longstanding policy of not publicly discussing its work.
Since then, Comey has not made any public statements related to the Trump campaign or Russia.
However, apart from the Russia allegations - Comey would also have to address Trump’s wiretapping allegations - that have raked up a huge storm not only in the country, but also outside, threatening ties with America’s important ally, the U.K.
So far, Congressional leaders that have been briefed have said that they’ve not seen any indication that Trump’s allegations were true.
Obama's top intelligence official, James Clapper even publicly called the claims false.
Many are expecting Comey to avoid questioning on the wiretapping allegations considering the Justice Department said on Friday that it had complied with congressional demands for information regarding Trump’s claims.
However, two top lawmakers on the House intelligence committee have said that the documents presented by the Justice Department and the FBI delivered offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower.
The panel's ranking Democrat however said that the material offers circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow's efforts to interfere in the presidential election.
Speaking on NBC, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said, “There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception. There's certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation."
Commenting on the hearing on Fox News, Rep. Devin Nunes, who chairs the committee said, "For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses. We know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades. They're also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe."
The hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to be held later in the month.
However, Trump’s Monday claims were immediately slammed by top Democrats.
Schiff said, “Mr. President, the Russians hacked our election and interfered. No one disputes this now, but you. This is what is called ‘fact.’”
He added, “The intelligence community concluded the Russians will interfere again. This is why full investigation is important to country. Please stop.”