Coats takes center stage with new questions of Trump interference

Posted June 08, 2017

Both National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers and Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee they believed their conversations with the president were confidential.

"I've never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way, with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relation to the ongoing investigation", he said.

On Wednesday, Coats and Rogers refused to answer senators' questions about their conversations with the president, saying they didn't want to share those private conversations in a public hearing.

Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, also refused to discuss the matter, and he declined to address a Washington Post report Tuesday that Trump urged him to ask FBI Director James Comey to back off the Russian Federation investigation.

And given the limited information they shared with the Senate's investigative committee on Russian Federation on Wednesday, Trump's top intelligence officials seem to be residing in that nuance.

The top Democratic member of the Senate intelligence committee said Wednesday that the timing of President Donald Trump's announcement of a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director - the day before James Comey is set to testify before Congress - is "more than a little bit curious".

Warner responded that even though Coats and Rogers "may not have felt pressured" by Trump, it's important to know whether the president asked them to interfere or intervene in the Russian Federation investigation or downplay the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

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

Coats: I think conversations between the president and myself are for the most part ... According to the detailed report, Coats determined it would be inappropriate for him to intervene with then-FBI Director James Comey. Mike Warner of Virginia, said the latest news on Coats "raises to me a huge amount of questions".

He added he never recalled feeling "pressured to do so".

Trump goes to Supreme Court, insists travel ban on Muslims
The Government has also asked the Supreme Court to stay the injunction granted by the District Court in State of Hawaii v. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that kept in place a freeze on President Trump's revised ban.

I understand that answering some of these questions may be hard or uncomfortable given your positions in this Administration.

"I'm not going to comment on any interactions with the President", he said, repeating various versions of that refusal several times.

Coats was testifying Wednesday before the Senate intelligence committee. (If you prefer PayPal, use this link.) We don't make much on advertising, we need your support to continue our work.

Coats says he is not sure he has a legal basis for refusing.

"Not that I'm aware of - because I feel it's inappropriate", Rogers said.

The two intelligence chiefs joined acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify before the panel on Wednesday.

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.

In it Comey made clear he was uncomfortable discussing an ongoing investigation with the president, even as he assured Trump that he himself was not a target of the probe.

With the frustrated lawmakers gearing up for Thursday's long-awaited testimony from ousted FBI Director James Comey, the committee on Wednesday afternoon took the unusual step of releasing the written statement Comey plans to deliver.

"The president said, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.' I didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed", Comey said.