LONDON (Reuters) - Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said he had not been contacted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and dismissed a report that he was a “person of interest” in an FBI inquiry into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“No, of course they haven‘t,” Farage, the former leader of Britain’s UK Independence Party, told BBC radio on Saturday when he was asked if the FBI had been in touch with him. “I mean this is just hysteria.”
The Guardian, a British newspaper, said on Thursday Farage had not been accused of wrongdoing and was not a suspect or a target of the U.S. investigation. But it said he was “right in the middle” of the relationships being looked at.
U.S. officials have previously said they were unaware of any serious FBI interest in Farage.
The Guardian said Farage had “raised the interest” of FBI investigators due to his connections with Trump and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, which published leaked emails from the U.S. Democratic National Committee during the campaign.
Farage told the BBC that there was no evidence that the Guardian’s source for its story was from within the FBI, and said he had met Assange only once.
He also said he suspected the leaked emails came from a source among the Democrats rather than Russia.
Farage, asked whether he would talk to the FBI if requested, said: “What do you think I would do? Go and hide in an embassy for five years? Can I just say, it is not going to happen. It is complete fabrication, there is nothing in it, it is hysterical nonsense.”
Former FBI Director James Comey is due to testify to Congress next week. Comey was leading the FBI investigation when Trump fired him last month.
Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Mark Heinrich