Intel Officials Won't Publicly Testify On Private Trump Talks

The committee is holding a closed session after lunch with staff about the technicalities of the law that allows the intelligence community to surveil foreign targets.

Rogers at the hearing Wednesday said he's never been asked to do anything illegal or felt pressure to do anything immoral during his three years as head of the intelligence agency. "I don't understand why you are not answering our questions". Rogers referred to earlier statements he made saying he wouldn't comment on conversations with the President.

HORSLEY: But when senators pressed the intelligence officials on whether Trump had asked them to intervene, Rogers and Coats repeatedly brushed them off. Rogers' refusal drew an angry rebuke from Maine Senator Angus King.

Rosenstein would not answer questions Wednesday about Comey's firing.

There was a classified session for Wednesday's hearing scheduled for the afternoon, but the witnesses were not among those supposed to appear.

Rogers also declined to "discuss the specifics of any conversation with the president of the United States" in response to a question about whether Trump inquired about downplaying a FBI investigation. "I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so".

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee expressed frustration Wednesday in their failure to get answers from President Donald Trump administration's intelligence and Justice Department chiefs about private conversations with the president, who had not invoked executive privilege.

Wednesday's hearing was not scheduled to discuss the Russian Federation investigation, and both Coats and Rogers indicated they might be more forthcoming in a classified setting with an intelligence panel.

Such a revelation came moments before fired FBI Director James Comey in a prepared statement claimed that Trump asked him to stop the FBI investigation against former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Coats reportedly told associates in March that Trump had attempted to enlist him in efforts to push back against the investigation of disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn.

The top Democrat on the committee said media reports that Trump tried to intervene in the probes are jarring. Any attempt by the White House or even the president himself to exploit this community as a tool for political purposes is deeply, deeply troubling.

The hearing was highly anticipated because stories about the Russian Federation investigation have emerged piecemeal, often based on anonymous sources.

Further, when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was asked directly if anyone in the White House sought advice on influencing any investigation, he replied, "Absolutely no".

Comey's testimony - released Wednesday afternoon before senators headed into a classified briefing with Coats - jibes with reports that Trump wanted Coats and Rogers to publicly rebut Russian Federation stories.

HORSLEY: The acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was also a witness before the committee today.

Trump on Wednesday said he meant to nominate a former Justice Department official, Christopher Wray, to replace Comey as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"If you could say" the reports weren't true, "you would say that", said Sen.

The president has frequently railed against leaks, and a government contractor, Reality Winner, was charged Monday with leaking an NSA document that details Russian efforts to penetrate USA election systems.

During a campaign stop in Wilmington Ohio previous year, Trump said he would redirect billions of dollars in payments to the United Nations to combat climate change and "use that money to invest in America", including replacing the double-decker bridge.

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