james comey russia hack RNC
CNN
james comey russia hack RNC
Now playing
01:07
James Comey: Russia tried to hack RNC
Now playing
01:27
See the first community of 3D-printed homes
Now playing
05:18
Anderson Cooper explains how he overcomes being shy
Burlington, MA Headquarters
Nuance
Burlington, MA Headquarters
Now playing
01:34
Microsoft to buy AI company Nuance
Now playing
02:50
Sleep doctor tells Anderson Cooper how long a power nap should be
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the quarterly CARES Act report on Capitol Hill December 1, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also testified at the hearing. (Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the quarterly CARES Act report on Capitol Hill December 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also testified at the hearing. (Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:06
Fed chief: The economy is about to grow more quickly
Christopher Hamilton
Now playing
01:01
Volcanologist shares what he prefers to cook on lava flows
"Saturday Night Live" / NBC
Now playing
01:47
'SNL' sees Minnesota news anchors take on the Derek Chauvin trial
Now playing
02:23
Pubs in England reopen after months of lockdown
DORAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 27:  A Trump National Doral sign is seen at the golf resort owned by U.S. President Donald Trump's company on August 27, 2019 in Doral, Florida. President Trump said the United States may host the next G7 gathering at the golf resort. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
DORAL, FLORIDA - AUGUST 27: A Trump National Doral sign is seen at the golf resort owned by U.S. President Donald Trump's company on August 27, 2019 in Doral, Florida. President Trump said the United States may host the next G7 gathering at the golf resort. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:46
'That is obviously false': CNN reporter on Trump supporter's attempt to rewrite history
Now playing
03:35
Why CrossFit CEO wants gyms included in infrastructure bill
Now playing
03:25
Camerota gives advice to Blackwell before they start new anchor roles
Fox News/Twitter
Now playing
01:33
ADL wants Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson over racist comments
CNN
Now playing
02:36
The truth behind Covid-19 vaccines for sale on the dark web
Now playing
04:22
Levi's CEO has message for Mitch McConnell
Now playing
01:54
'You think I'm racist': Former Fox News host storms off camera

Story highlights

Comey's refusal to comment drew a perplexed response from Sen. Angus King

"The irony of your making that statement here I cannot avoid," King quipped

(CNN) —  

FBI Director James Comey declined to answer Tuesday whether the bureau was investigating links between President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Comey’s refusal to comment during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing drew a perplexed response from Sen. Angus King, who noted the “irony” of Comey’s lack of comment given that he shook the 2016 campaign by telling Congress the FBI was reviewing emails thought to be related to Hillary Clinton’s private server.

“You didn’t say one way or another whether even there was an investigation underway?” King, a Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats, asked Comey.

FBI’s Comey: Republicans also hacked by Russia

Comey responded, “Correct. I don’t, especially in a public forum, we never confirm or deny a pending investigation.”

“The irony of your making that statement here I cannot avoid,” King said.

After the hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, tweeted: “Director Comey refused to answer my question about whether the FBI has investigated Trump campaign contacts with Russia.”

Less than two weeks before Election Day, Comey notified Congress that the FBI was reviewing emails later revealed to be related to the bureau’s investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting. Then, two days before the election, he later told Congress the FBI had not found anything new to change its recommendation that Clinton not be charged in the matter.

Some members of the Clinton team, including former President Bill Clinton, have since cited the FBI’s last-minute bombshell as one of the reasons for their stunning electoral defeat.

The FBI has previously looked into alleged ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

The FBI opened an investigation that involved former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his firm’s ties to the ousted, pro-Russian president of Ukraine, CNN’s Evan Perez reported in August.

In November, CNN reported the FBI had multiple investigations involving connections between Russia and Trump’s orbit. At the time, the government had not announced criminal connections in any instance.

During his testimony at Tuesday’s hearing, the FBI director did say he believed Russia had attempted to hack multiple Republican targets. The FBI joined a report from the intelligence community last week accusing the Russian government of being behind several hacks related to the election, including stealing Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails and providing them to WikiLeaks for public consumption. The report accused Russia doing this to hurt Clinton and help Trump.

Russia has denied involvement in the hacks and dismissed the public version of the report, as has WikiLeaks.