NSA chief, intelligence director won't comment on Trump conversations


McCabe repeatedly declined to answer, saying Comey would testify to the committee Thursday.

Two intelligence chiefs testified Wednesday that they have never felt pressured to take improper actions regarding any intelligence matter, including the investigation regarding Russia's meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

Rogers said, "Because I feel it is inappropriate".

"I don't believe it's appropriate for me to address that in a public session", Coats said.

The Senate panel questioned Coats and Rogers about those claims on Wednesday.

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.

At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner asked Coats and Rogers about media reports that Trump asked them to intervene regarding the Justice Department investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and the broader inquiry surrounding Russian Federation.

"If we have evidence that the President of the United States intervened in an investigation, and asked Coats and (National Security Agency Director Michael) Rogers to back off, and then we have Director Comey tomorrow describing the conversations he had with the President, and the fact that he felt uncomfortable. that's just unacceptable", Warner said. "I'm simply asking, did that conversation occur?"

ROGERS: I stand by the comments I've made. Maybe you didn't feel pressure, but were you asked the question?

Wednesday's hearing was a blockbuster in its own right - but Comey's written testimony, released Wednesday by the Senate intelligence committee, shows that Trump was intensely interested in top officials rebutting the Russian Federation stories in public.

In the Wednesday hearing, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers refused to discuss specifics about his conversations with Trump. And does that not deny newspaper reports suggesting quite the opposite, that Dan Coats was pressured?

Unlike former FBI Director James Comey, the President could exercise executive privilege over Coats and Rogers because they still work for him.

"Well I think we'll ask questions about that tomorrow", he said. King asked in response. Angus King of Maine about his legal justification for not publicly addressing his conversation with Trump, Coats said, "I'm not sure I have a legal basis". "I do mean it in a contentious way".

Another source has said the president might have misunderstood the exact meaning of Comey's words, especially regarding the FBI's ongoing counterintelligence investigation. That indicates, as Coats suggested, that the officials might reply with more candor in a closed, or classified, Senate session. For King, he wanted answers as to why none of them were willing to answer anything.

Comey is said to have written a memo on February 14 claiming that Trump asked him in a face-to-face Oval Office meeting to back off of an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.