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Comey hearing before House Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey is making a dramatic appearance Monday before the House Intelligence Committee and is expected to publicly reject President Donald Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The hearing, which will also feature testimony from National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, could also shed light on the state of FBI investigations into the extent of Russian meddling in the election campaign. Republicans hope Comey will state that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump aides and officials from Moscow, a move that could begin to break up a cloud of Russian intrigue that has stifled the early weeks of the administration. But Democrats say there is circumstantial evidence of wrongdoing that needs to be probed.

Trump tried to shift attention away from the wiretapping claims in a series of Monday morning tweets.

“James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” Trump wrote shortly after 6:30 a.m. ET, followed by: “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”

The controversy over the wiretapping claims was unleashed by stunning early morning tweets from the President at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida two weeks ago. He drew parallels to Watergate and McCarthyism and said Obama was a “Bad (or sick) guy!” for ordering surveillance of his New York residence — allegations the former president quickly denied through a spokesman.