- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2017

President Trump on Monday declared the notion that he colluded with Russia during last year’s election “fake news,” as the House Intelligence Committee prepares to hold its first open hearing tied to its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

“James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

“The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!” the president also tweeted.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!” he tweeted.

Mr. Trump was apparently referring to a recent TV appearance by Mr. Clapper, the former director of national intelligence. Mr. Clapper said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this month that to his knowledge, there wasn’t evidence showing collusion between members of Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Russians.

The House intelligence panel is scheduled to hear from FBI Director James B. Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers on Monday as part of its investigation into Russia and the 2016 campaign.

Mr. Clapper also said in the same interview that to his knowledge, there wasn’t any court order that would have allowed surveillance of Trump Tower during the campaign. Earlier this month, Mr. Trump accused former President Obama of tapping phones at Trump Tower during the campaign, and lawmakers are expected to bring that charge up during Monday’s hearing as well.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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