Intelligence chiefs unsure what can say publicly

Owen Stevens
June 8, 2017

"I am not going to discuss the specifics of interactions that I may or may have not had with the president", said Rogers, who has served as NSA director since 2014.

Trump's complaints came just days after Comey confirmed in a public hearing before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

When pressed by one lawmaker to explain why he was refusing to answer questions about his conversations with the president, Coats replied, "I'm not sure I have a legal basis".

The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey's handling of it, said officials familiar with the account Coats gave to associates. Coats discussed Trump's request with aides, but decided that intervening with Comey was inappropriate.

Rosenstein's public testimony will be the first since he appointed - in the face of rising pressure from Congress - former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel investigating possible links between Russian Federation and the election.

The Kremlin denies USA intelligence agencies' conclusion that Moscow tried to tilt the election campaign in Trump's favor, including by hacking into the emails of senior Democrats.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe refused to answer questions about whether Comey told him about his discussions with Trump, including whether Trump asked Comey to pledge loyalty to the president. Mike Rogers testified during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing they never felt pressured from Trump to impede investigations into Russian meddling of the election.

Senator Marco Rubio has been one of the most vocal voices in Washington wanting to know about Russia's role in the 2016 United States Presidential elections. Sen.

Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, asked each intelligence official to take a message back to the administration - that they can not hide things from the Senate Intelligence Committee, and are required to be fully forthcoming.

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When asked to comment on conversations with the President, the committee declined and said they would not make comments in a public forum.

The White House did not respond to questions of whether Trump would claim executive privilege Wednesday.

Mueller might not be at Wednesday's hearing, but with Rosenstein and McCabe in the room, questions of how the federal and Senate investigations will co-exist are likely to come up.

No definitive evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation has come to light.

The probe has hung over Trump's presidency since he took office in January and threatens to overwhelm his policy priorities.

Two top USA intelligence officials told lawmakers they did not feel inappropriately pressured by President Donald Trump to publicly disavow possible Russian collusion with Trump aides in last year's election.

Coats also said that if he is called before an investigative committee, such as the Senate Intelligence Committee, "I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don't know".

"I am not prepared to go down that road right now", Coats said.

Coats did not offer any details, but said, "Just because it's in The Washington Post doesn't mean it's declassified".

Other reports by VgToday

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