Top officials won't say whether they kept notes on Trump-Russia discussions

Gwen Vasquez
June 10, 2017

Time and again, the former IN senator rejected requests from the Senate Intelligence Committee to say whether President Donald Trump had asked him to try to influence the FBI's investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials.

Two of the nation's top intelligence officials declined in a testy hearing Wednesday to discuss the specifics of private conversations with President Donald Trump, refusing to say whether they had been asked to push back against an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into possible coordination between Trump's campaign and the Russian government.

"However, he has never felt pressured by the President or anyone else in the Administration to influence any intelligence matters or ongoing investigations", Hale said in a statement. The underlying question here, put out in a newspaper report, as often happens before someone testifies before Congress, was a suggestion that President Trump himself had asked Dan Coats to help intervene, in some way, with the FBI and get this Russian Federation investigation changed or derailed or whatever the word would be.

Two of the four national security executives scheduled to testify before the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday were reportedly asked by Trump to publicly state that there was no evidence of collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign. New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich argued if the president did not ask officials to rein in the investigation, it ought to be easy to say so.

"It was really ridiculous", said King, a member of the Senate panel.

Coats says he is not sure he has a legal basis for refusing. Rogers offered that the conversations were classified.

"We are in a public session here, and I do not feel that it is appropriate for me to address confidential information".

ROGERS: I stand by my previous statement, sir. And here's a blow-by-blow transcript of how it went down starting with Heinrich questioning Acting FBI Director McCabe. But Rogers did note that during his time in office, he had never been directed to do anything he considered inappropriate or immoral, and he didn't recall ever feeling pressured.

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the second-ranking official at the Department of Justice who signed a letter recommending Comey's dismissal, also testified on Wednesday, as did acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who took over after Comey was sacked.

In his much-anticipated testimony, Comey is expected to dispute Trump's interpretation of their conversations, sources familiar with Comey's thinking have said. John McCain (R-AZ) seemed to echo the frustration that many of his Senate colleagues had already expressed regarding the intel chiefs' refusal to answer questions.

The conversation occurred the day after the president asked Mr Comey to end the investigation into Mr Flynn during a private dinner, according to the New York Times.

At the close of the hearing, the Republican committee chairman, Sen.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it's standard practice for executive branch officials, such as the ones who testified, to decline to discuss conversations with the president.

King said, "So it's your position that the special counsel's entitled to ask you questions about this, but not an oversight committee of the United States Congress".

McCabe: I think I'll let Director Comey speak for himself tomorrow before this committee.

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