Intel chiefs won't say if Trump asked them to intervene in investigations

Heinrich reminded McCabe that he was being asked about his conversations with Comey, not the president.

COATS: I'm not sure I have a legal basis, but I'm more than willing to sit before this committee ... during its investigative process in a closed session and answer your questions. A few moments later, he made her wildest dreams come true.

"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. Richard Burr of North Carolina, said that executive branch officials have the option of briefing the committee or congressional leaders in a classified setting.

Section 702 was key to the intelligence community's conclusions about Russia's role in the US election, NSA Director Rogers told the Senate panel.

"I don't believe it's appropriate for me to address that in a public session", Coats said.

Both Coats and Rogers said they had contacted the White House to ask whether it meant to invoke executive privilege regarding the president's conversations with them, which could prevent the intelligence chiefs from testifying about them. I'm simply asking did that conversation occur? I'm not asking whether you felt pressured.

The four witnesses had come before the committee to discuss the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - the program some in the Trump administration accused intelligence community officials of abusing in order to improperly "unmask" Trump campaign officials. Coats said in response to a line of questioning from Arizona Sen.


But the hearing quickly moved to the witnesses' interactions with Trump, after the Washington Post had reported the night before the hearing that Trump asked Coats to convince Comey to end the Russian Federation investigation.

In an often contentious hearing on Capitol Hill, two intelligence chiefs testified Wednesday that they've never felt pressured to take improper actions regarding intelligence matters, including the investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election. Comey added he'd never before had a request for loyalty due to the fact that the position of Federal Bureau of Investigation director was established to prevent an individual from feeling like he owed loyalty to a specific president.

Rogers said he felt it was "inappropriate" to answer questions.

"What is classified about a conversation involving whether or not you should intervene in the FBI investigation", King asked, to which Rogers reiterated that he was standing by his earlier remarks. "They could have laid all this to rest and they chose not to".

Warner was disappointed by Rogers' lackluster answer, and proceeded to ask Coats the same thing.

He told Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the committee's ranking Democrat, that he did not want to discuss the matter in an open hearing, but he insisted he had "never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way".

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