Top US Intelligence Officials Duck Tough Senate Questions On Trump FBI Probe

Kristopher Drake
June 11, 2017

Rogers answered that he "feel [s] it's inappropriate" to reveal details of his private conversations with the president and with Comey in an open hearing.

Top intelligence officials testified Wednesday to the Senate that they never felt pressured to intervene in an ongoing investigation, despite Washington Post reporting that they told associates that President Donald Trump asked them to either weigh in on the FBI Russia probe or to get the FBI to back off it entirely.

While Democrats have focused on possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, Republicans have focused on leaks about the investigation. "And to the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured".

Mark R. Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicated Wednesday that he plans to question a witness to Coats's conversation with the president.

Those answers didn't satisfy the senators. Angus King, I-Maine, he could not specify what was classified about the conversation.

"The chair is going to exercise its right to allow the witnesses to answer the question, and committee is on notice to provide witnesses the courtesy, which has not been extended all the way across", Burr said.

The tense June 7 hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee came one day before former FBI Director James Comey is to testify for the first time since his firing by Trump last month. Comey associates say that before the director was sacked in May, the president had asked him to drop the investigation into Flynn, and Comey refused. But a report in The Washington Post that Trump went further than just asking Coats to rebut former FBI Director James Comey in public increases the intrigue.

Here's what's really herculean: being a Trump aide and trying not to implicate the boss even though it is patently obvious that he attempted to restrict the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

At the same hearing, the acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, was asked whether he had talked to his predecessor Comey about claims Trump put pressure on Comey to close down Russian-related inquiries.

"I think that those matters also begin to fall within the scope of issues being investigated by the special counsel", McCabe said.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Is there an invocation by the president of the United States of executive privilege? He asked Rogers, "Why are you not answering these questions?" "The requirements of our oversight responsibilities and your agencies deserve it".

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.

KING: Well we're going to be having a closed session in a few hours. "I don't understand why you're not answering our questions".

The event was scheduled five weeks ago as a review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but it quickly morphed into another chance for lawmakers to get some answers on the Justice Department's investigation into President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

Coats said he would not share with the general public any conversations that he had with the president or his colleagues within the administration that he thought should not be shared.

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday she had "no idea" if Trump had used a recording system to document past conversations with Comey.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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