Intelligence chiefs won't say if Trump asked them to downplay Russian Federation probe

Pauline Gross
June 9, 2017

He also told ABC News that even if the officials discussed the content of their conversations with Trump in a closed setting, that wouldn't be sufficient.

"I have never felt pressured to intervene in the Russian Federation investigation in any way", Coats told members of the Senate intelligence committee when asked about such reports.

Trump reportedly asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the head of the National Security Agency, Adm. Mike Rogers, to state publicly that there was no collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

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"I am not going to discuss the specifics of interactions that I may or may have not had with the President", Rogers said, adding he has never felt pressured to do anything unethical.

"It is not clear whether or not the president has exerted executive privilege, and thus I think the witnesses were in a tough position because they clearly sought guidance from the White House and did not receive clarity", Collins said. "The answer is, why are you not answering the questions?"

To refuse to answer the questions in a public hearing "just won't be enough", Warner said.

"I am not prepared to go down that road right now", Coats said. "The president is not above the law".

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle emerged from Wednesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in agreement: They are frustrated with the limited answers the nation's top intelligence officials have provided in testimony about conversations with President Trump.

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The two were actually on Capitol Hill for a hearing on the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia", said Comey, who had briefed Trump on "salacious material" that had arisen in a counter-intelligence investigation.

Acting director of the FBI Andrew McCabe refused to answer when asked whether he had talked to Comey, his predecessor, about claims that Trump put pressure on him to close down Russia-related inquiries.

Rosenstein's public testimony will be the first since he appointed - in the face of rising pressure from Congress - former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel investigating possible links between Russian Federation and the election. As a top ranking intelligence chief who technically reported to the Justice Department, Mr Comey at one point sought out shelter from private interactions with the President by asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to play interference on that front after Mr Trump once dismissed the attorney general and his deputy in order to have a private conversation with the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who took over after Comey was sacked, will also be at the hearing.

Trump, who spent part of Wednesday in OH talking about the need to fix the nation's crumbling infrastructure, ignored reporters' shouted questions about Comey.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Democratic members of the intelligence committee asked McCabe and Coats about their interactions with Comey and the president.

Early Wednesday, Trump announced his pick to succeed Comey at the FBI - Christopher Wray, a former Justice Department official who served as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's lawyer during the George Washington Bridge lane-closing investigation.

Other reports by GizPress

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