Sen. Angus King's Heated Exchange With Intelligence Officials

Alvin Kelly
June 10, 2017

"What I want to find out is, we've had press reports as recently as yesterday that maybe even a few times the President tried to intervene with Director Coats to ask him to either down play or dismiss the FBI investigation into contacts between trump officials", Warner told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" previewing his testimony.

Mike Rogers, the NSA director, said he could not discuss specifics in an open hearing, but assured Senator Warner that in his three-plus years with the agency, he had never felt "pressured" to intervene in, or alter, the course of an investigation.

Mike Warner of Virginia, said the latest news on Coats "raises to me a huge amount of questions".

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.

Heinrich and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe also had a sharp exchange at the hearing over conversations former FBI Director James Comey had with Trump. McCabe said the FBI, under special counsel Robert Mueller, is continuing its Russian Federation investigation "in an appropriate and unimpeded way" in the wake of Comey's firing. Rogers said he was yet to receive a definitive answer.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation head said he became concerned that Trump was trying to create "some sort of patronage relationship".

King, a few moments later: "Well, is it your testimony that when you are before this committee in a closed session you will answer these questions directly and unequivocally and without hesitation?" "And to the best my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured to doing so".

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When asked later whether the president had asked him to downplay the Russian Federation investigation, the NSA director did not respond directly, simply repeating his previous statement saying he had not been directed to do anything wrong.

"Are you prepared to say that you have never been asked by the President or the White House to influence an ongoing investigation?" asked Sen.

Coats: "I plan to do that, but I do have to work through the legal counsel at the White House relative to whether or not they are going to exercise executive (privilege)". Burr continued, "At no time should you be in a position where you come to Congress without an answer".

Angus King repeatedly asked Rogers and Coats what was the legal basis for their refusal to answer questions. McCabe pointed out that the committee would hear from Comey directly on Thursday.

Why are the intelligence directors refusing to answer the committee's questions today?

DETROW: Absolutely, because the other key conversation about pressure and ongoing investigations is the conversation that NPR and many other news outlets have reported that happened between President Trump and former FBI Director Jim Comey.

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