Coats refuses to discuss Trump conversations
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 1:35
The Washington Post reported last month that Trump "made separate appeals" in March to Coats and Rogers "urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election"; the paper said both refused. "Coats discussed the conversation with other officials and decided that intervening with Comey as Trump had suggested would be inappropriate".
Four top intelligence community leaders testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in a hearing that grew uncomfortably testy at times, as all four witnesses dodged questions about their interactions with President Donald Trump related to the Russian Federation investigation.
Another source has said the president might have misunderstood the exact meaning of Comey's words, especially regarding the FBI's ongoing counterintelligence investigation. Rogers and Coats stated that they felt it would not be appropriate to discuss such matters.
"The committee requested a hearing on the re-authorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - a critical tool that protects our national security - and that is what the deputy attorney general will be there to discuss tomorrow".
The top Democrat on the committee said media reports that Trump tried to intervene in the probes are jarring.
Acting director of the FBI Andrew McCabe refused to answer when asked whether he had talked to Comey, his predecessor, about claims that Trump put pressure on him to close down Russia-related inquiries.
The Arizona Republican said that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats' refusal to go into detail about a conversation already reported in The Washington Post "shows what kind of an Orwellian existence that we live in".
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pressed the witnesses on whether they had "been asked by the president or the White House to influence an ongoing investigation".
Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, who has filled in since Trump fired Comey on May 9, also refused to answer whether he had discussed the firing with Comey himself, saying the issue stepped into the "lane" of the special counsel who has been appointed to investigate the Trump team's possible collusion with Russian Federation. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN: "And he promised me when he was confirmed that he would share and assist the investigation".
Asked repeatedly by independent Sen.
McCabe said it was not appropriate for him to characterize the conversations he had with fired FBI Director James Comey.
"I've never been pressured". Rosenstein would not answer questions Wednesday about Comey's firing.