No Pressure To Intervene In Investigations — Intelligence Officials

Alejandro Massey
June 8, 2017

President Donald Trump's national security team will appear before a Senate panel Wednesday to discuss gathering intelligence on foreign agents and will likely be asked about Russia's election meddling and whether the president has tried to influence ongoing investigations. That's nearly exactly what President Nixon did in a failed attempt to quash the Watergate probe that eventually brought down his presidency. As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Coats was testifying Wednesday before the Senate intelligence committee.

Both Coats and Rogers denied feeling pressured by Trump to intervene in the handling of intelligence in any inappropriate way - but refused to answer specific questions about their interactions with the president.

Rogers indicated that while he and Coats have had conversations with the White House about a potential claim of executive privilege, he said that they had not gotten a definitive answer.

"The American public deserves to know what the president of the United States did and what he asked of the leaders of our intelligence community".

Comey also said Trump demanded he pledge his loyalty in a White House meeting on January 27, just days after he took office under the cloud of allegations that Russia's interference helped him win election.

King shot back, "What you feel isn't relevant, Admiral". "Why are you not answering the questions?"

"You're asking me... [to] comment on the integrity of the Washington Post's reporting?" "I'm not interested in repeating myself, sir", he said.

Comey's comments, largely confirming press reports published in the past two months, were made in a statement ahead of his appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

"We have a special counsel who is investigating", Rosenstein said, when asked about a memo he had written that the White House held up as justification for Comey's May 9 firing.

At another point, Coats directly addressed the Post report.

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When asked more specifically if Trump ever asked him to help dismiss the Russian Federation probe, Rogers said he was "not going to discuss specifics of conversations" with the president. When there are ongoing investigations I think it's in appropriate.

ROGERS: Today, I am not going to talk about theoreticals. Coats said in response to a line of questioning from Arizona Sen.

President Donald Trump's announcement of a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director one day before fired Director James Comey is to take the stand is "more than a little bit curious", Sen.

"I am not prepared to go down that road right now", Coats said.

"You testified that you never felt pressured or threatened ..."

We don't know exactly what happened in the separate conversations between the president and Coats and Rogers. Sen.

For contrast, take House Speaker Paul D. Ryan's (R-Wis.) answer Wednesday to the same question posed by a reporter: "Has the president ever asked you to weigh in publicly on his behalf on some of the Russian Federation allegations?"

"I would ask each of you to take a message back to the administration", he started.

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. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) asked.

ROGERS: Can I, could I finish, please.

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