Top intel chiefs tight-lipped on Trump contacts

Posted June 11, 2017

But the two officials, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the head of the National Security Agency, Adm. Mike Rogers, declined to say whether President Trump ever asked them to downplay the Russian Federation investigation.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers wouldn't give details of any conversations they've had with President Donald Trump about, well, anything.

However, both Coats and Rogers did say that President Trump had never asked them to engage in any behavior that might be considered either unethical or illegal. "To the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so", Rogers said.

Rogers is also known to have had discussions with Trump about the Russian Federation investigations, and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said he looked forward to public, unclassified testimony on Wednesday from Coats and Rogers.

Earlier in Wednesday's testimony, Coats said he has never felt pressure to "intervene, interfere in any way for shaping intelligence in any way".

Those answers didn't satisfy the senators. "It's my judgment that I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation", Comey testified.

"As leaders in the intelligence community, you also have committed to act, and to provide advice and counsel, in a way that is unbiased, impartial, and devoid of any political considerations", Mr. Warner told the assembled officials.

"But I'm more than willing to sit before this committee during its investigative process in a closed session and answer your question".

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday night that Trump had asked Coats to press James Comey, then Federal Bureau of Investigation director, to back off from focusing on his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump complained that the probe had created a "cloud" over his presidency.

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Both Coats and Rogers are testifying before the Senate committee on Wednesday, as well as Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Mr Kasowitz, however, said Mr Trump "never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr Comey stop investigating anyone".

McCabe told King he didn't know if he could answer or not, stating it might "fall within the purview" of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

"I come out of this hearing with more questions than when I went in", Sen.

Trump has repeatedly denied any coordination took place between his campaign and the Russian government, which, according to US intelligence agencies, stole emails embarrassing to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and leaked them to undermine her campaign. And you can't get to the facts if the witnesses won't answer the questions.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked if they could show up in the SCIF, the secure facility for classified hearings, but Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said that was not an option. Admiral Mike Rogers of the National Security Agency also turned aside some questions, which displeased Senator Angus King of Maine.

HEINRICH: So you don't think the American people deserve to know the answer to that question.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied US intelligence conclusions that Moscow tried to tilt the election campaign in Trump's favor. Addressing Rogers, King asked whether the White House invoked executive privilege over the president's conversations with Rogers and Coats, which would bar them from discussing the conversations publicly.

5. Will the White House exercise executive privilege?