Top intel officials weren't pressured to intervene on Russian Federation probes

Posted June 11, 2017

Though Coats refused to say whether Trump asked him about the Russian Federation probe or mentioned Comey, he and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers both testified that they did not feel pressure from Trump or the White House to influence the Russian Federation investigation.

The nation's top intelligence officials refused to say whether or not President Trump asked them to try and undercut the FBI's investigation into a top former Trump aide on Wednesday, declining to confirm a bombshell report and offering the first public confirmation that Trump sought to undercut the probe.

"I'm not going to discuss the specifics of any conversations with the president of the United States", Rogers said.

Sen. August King (D-Maine) on Wednesday attempted to smash the stonewalling non-answers from intelligence officials, as they refused to say whether President Donald Trump attempted to recruit them in alleged efforts to downplay the FBI investigation into Russian Federation and members of his campaign.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe refused to answer questions about whether Comey told him about his discussions with Trump, including whether Trump asked Comey to pledge loyalty to the president.

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"In my time of service", Coats said, "I have never been pressured, I've never felt pressure to intervene or interfere, in any way, with shaping intelligence in a political way".

The verbal sparring became so intense that Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, intervened at one point during a sharp exchange between California Democrat Kamala Harris and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

"Why are you not answering the questions? As the attacks in London, Paris, Manchester, Melbourne and the list, unfortunately, goes on and on, all those attacks have demonstrated terrorists continue to plot attacks that target innocent civilians", Mr. Warner said.

The senator wouldn't comment on whether or not he believes the firing of Comey amounts to an obstruction of justice - he said that is something the special prosecutor will decide.

The hearing was often contentious, particularly when Democratic senators questioned the intelligence officials.

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So why wouldn't the intel leaders talk to the Senate Intelligence committee today? Mark R. Warner's (D-Va) question of whether Trump sought his aid in downplaying the investigation.

"Not that I'm aware of -- because I feel it's inappropriate", Rogers said.

To put it in frustratingly opaque government-speak, these top intelligence officials haven't confirmed whether Trump had inappropriate conversations with them about the FBI investigation.

That may come as a relief to a White House that has been buffeted by a seemingly never-ending stream of controversial revelations, from allegations that the president attempted to influence the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to reports of internal divisions within the administration.

The Post reported that Coats shared details of that March 22 conversation with associates and that he felt uncomfortable with the request.

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