Intelligence chiefs: No pressure from Trump administration on Russia probe

Intelligence chiefs: No pressure from Trump administration on Russia probe

Grilled by senators, intelligence officials including Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Wednesday refused to answer whether President Donald Trump asked them to intervene in a probe into alleged Russian interference in the us election. He said he had never felt "pressured" to alter the course of an investigation, adding that no president had ever "directed" him to do any unethical or "illegal" acts.

At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner asked Coats and Rogers about media reports that Trump has pressured them to downplay the Russian Federation investigation.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's open hearing will feature officials closely tied to President Donald Trump's abrupt firing last month of Comey, which sparked accusations that the Republican president had dismissed him to hinder the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe and stifle questions about possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

The sources said Coats concluded after the meeting that Trump's suggestion that he intervene with Comey's investigation would be inappropriate.

"The NSA has made her-cyur-ROO-lian - this is hard for me to say", said President Trump's national intelligence director, a former Republican senator from Indiana. "I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so".

"I don't believe it's appropriate for myself to address that in a public session", Coats responded to a visibly frustrated Warner.

"We certainly look forward to that", Heinrich said.

Watching the recent testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, investigating whatever they're investigating, I have discovered a new promise which tops "the check is in the mail".

Coats said he didn't have a specific legal justification for declining to answer such questions, but suggested he might be able to do so in the classified, closed briefing later in the day.

Key US intelligence figures, including Coats, Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, are testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

USA surveillance practices have come under increased scrutiny amid unsubstantiated assertions by Trump and other Republicans that the White House under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, improperly spied on Trump or his associates. Mark R. Warner's (D-Va) question of whether Trump sought his aid in downplaying the investigation. "Why are you not answering our questions?" a visibly angry King asked.

"I don't understand why the special counsel's lane takes precedence over the lane of the United States Congress", Senator Angus King fumed. "I am willing to come before the committee and tell you what I know and what I don't know".

"For intelligence-related matters or any other matter that has been discussed, it is my belief that it is inappropriate for me to share that with the public", Coats said.

Coats gave the same non-answer, almost verbatim, which makes one wonder whether they were coached and/or colluded on their testimony.

Rogers also refused to answer Warner's questions about his conversations with Trump about the Russian Federation investigation.

At the close of the hearing, the Republican committee chairman, Sen. King finally blew up, scolding Rogers that what he "feels" isn't relevant. Comey appears before the same committee on Thursday.