Intelligence Chiefs Say They Weren't 'Pressured' to Intervene in FBI Investigation

Louis Holland
June 8, 2017

At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner asked Coats and Rogers about media reports that Trump asked them to intervene regarding the Justice Department investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and the broader inquiry surrounding Russian Federation.

Rogers said he would not discuss "theoreticals" or specifics of any interactions with Trump.

Coats and Rogers said they would have to talk to the White House counsel's office to ensure that the president will not invoke executive privilege to bar their testimony.

"If I'm called before an investigative committee, I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don't know", Coats said on May 23.

Angus KingAngus KingGOP chairman admonishes intel chiefs Senator blasts NSA chief: "What you feel isn't relevant, admiral" The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Maine), an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

"I would like a legal justification for your refusal to answer", King said. "I'm not interested in repeating myself, sir", he said.

Mr Rogers was testifying before the Senate intelligence committee about surveillance laws.

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"Is that the rule for the President of the United States as well?"

Republican John McCain of Arizona took a softer approach, drawing chuckles when he asked Coats, "Do you want to tell us any more about the Russian involvement in our election that we don't already know from reading The Washington Post?".

On the surface, their testimonies would seem to contradict The Post's reporting.

Rogers response did not go over well.

He was, no doubt, expressing hope he will get a different answer from former FBI Director James Comey, who is scheduled to testify before the committee on Thursday.

"I did not understand the president to be talking about the broader investigation into Russian Federation or possible links to his campaign", Comey recalled.

"I am not asking for classified information, I am asking whether or not you have been asked by anyone to influence an ongoing investigation", Republican Senator Marco Rubio said, in a particularly tense exchange.

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Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he did not believe it was appropriate for him to publicly discuss conversations he has had with the president.

"You can clear an very bad lot up by simply saying it never happened", Heinrich later said. But Coats held his ground, saying "I do not share with the general public conversations that I had with the president or with many of my colleagues within the administration".

"I understand. I am not going to go down that road in a public forum", Coats responded.

"We have this whole series of contacts that took place between the election and swearing-in, an unprecedented level of contacts with a country that massively intervened in our elections, and now we've got these series of interventions by the president with top intelligence officials". At one point, Sen.

But Rubio, aware of how Rogers dodged his question, clarified - "not directed, asked", he said.

ROGERS: Can I, could I finish, please.

Rachel Cohen, press secretary for Sen.

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Mueller might not be at Wednesday's hearing, but with Rosenstein and McCabe in the room, questions of how the federal and Senate investigations will co-exist are likely to come up.

Other reports by Info About Network

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