Former FBI Director James Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that a New York Times report from February saying President Donald Trump's campaign had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence in the year before the 2016 election was false.
Sen. James Risch (R., Idaho) asked Comey at the hearing if Trump was under investigation when he led the FBI. Comey confirmed that Trump was not under investigation.
Risch then turned to the New York Times article, which reported on Feb. 14 that "phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election." The Times cited "four current and former American officials."
Comey said that he remembered reading the story.
"That [the article] upset you to the point where you actually went out and surveyed the intelligence community to see whether you were missing something in that. Is that correct?" Risch asked.
"That's correct," Comey said, adding that he was hesitant to talk about the story further in a non-classified setting.
Risch then recalled how Comey "sought out" both Republican and Democratic senators to tell them the story was "not factual."
"Again, so the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?" Risch asked.
"In the main, it was not true," Comey said.
Comey went on to say that in his experience, individuals who talk to the media about classified information "often don't really know what's going on, and those of us who actually know what's going on are not talking about it."
The former FBI director added that intelligence officials cannot call the press to notify them when stories on classified material are incorrect.