United States lawmakers press intelligence chiefs on Russian Federation ahead of Comey hearing


Top U.S. intelligence officials insisted Wednesday that they have never faced pressure to shape intelligence assessments to fit a political goal, amid questions from Democrats about whether President Trump pushed officials to drop a probe into Russia's influence on the election.

But both Coats and Rogers also said they wouldn't publicly reveal more specifics of private conversations they had with Trump.

But if we look closer, both Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, left open the possibility that Trump asked them to push back or intervene in an FBI investigation - they just didn't feel pressured to do anything about it.

Warner said he came out of the hearing "with more questions than when I went in".

Coats: "I don't believe it's appropriate to address that in a public session". But Coats and Rogers refused to answer.

In an often contentious hearing on Capitol Hill, two intelligence chiefs testified Wednesday that they've never felt pressured to take improper actions regarding intelligence matters, including the investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Two US intelligence leaders told Congress Wednesday they were never pressured by the White House, as they were grilled on reports that President Donald Trump urged them to downplay probes into an aide's Russian Federation ties. Rogers referred to earlier statements he made saying he wouldn't comment on conversations with the President. But Rogers said he "didn't get a definitive answer" on whether the president would invoke executive privilege, making any of the conversations off-limits to be discussed before the committee.

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It's been reported that Trump asked Rogers to publicly state that there is no evidence that there was collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Kicking off two days of highly anticipated hearings on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Democrat charged that the White House engaged in an "appalling and improper use" of the nation's intelligence apparatus and warned the public is losing confidence in American institutions.

On Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe noted that they had never been asked to intervene in an ongoing investigation.

But the Times reporting was based on a memo of the meeting Comey supposedly drafted, a memo the Times did not see, but said was described to reporters by two anonymous sources.

HEINRICH: I'm asking you.

McCABE: And I think that those matters also begin to fall within the scope of issues being investigated by the special counsel and wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on those today. "I don't understand why you are not answering our questions".

According to some key senators, Coats may reveal more about his interactions with Trump, including when the President reportedly urged the former IN senator to rebut the notion there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.