WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says congressional testimony from the former Homeland Security Secretary backs up his claim that his campaign did not collude with Russian officials. But that’s not what Johnson said.
TRUMP, in a tweet Thursday: “Former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia.”
THE FACTS: He did not state that conclusion. Johnson, who was homeland security secretary from December 2013 to January 2017, appeared Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee. Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy asked Johnson pointedly whether he knew of any evidence of possible collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign.
Johnson said he was not aware of any information beyond what’s been reported publicly and what the U.S. intelligence community has gathered.
“So anything I’d have on that is derivative of what the intelligence community has - and the law enforcement community,” he said.
Johnson also said he did not know the information that formed the basis for the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, asked Johnson whether former FBI Director James Comey would have opened such an inquiry without evidence for doing so.
Johnson said Comey would not take this lightly. Asked if Comey would need some information to do this, Johnson said, “Based on everything I know about Jim Comey and the FBI, yes.”
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