Two of the nation’s top intelligence officials said in a hearing Wednesday they would not discuss specifics of private conversations with President Trump, declining to say whether they had been asked to push back against an FBI probe into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats refused to say whether it was true, as The Washington Post reported Tuesday, that Trump asked Coats if he could reach out to then-FBI Director James B. Comey and dissuade him from pursuing the Flynn matter.
“I don’t believe it’s appropriate for me to address that in a public session,’’ Coats said. “I don’t think this is the appropriate venue to do this in.’’
He added: “I have never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way … in an ongoing investigation.’’
Similarly, National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers declined to directly answer Sen. Mark R. Warner’s (D-Va) question of whether Trump sought his aid in downplaying the investigation. The Post last month reported Trump had appealed to Rogers, if he could, to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
“I’m not going to discuss the specifics of any conversations with the president of the United States,” Rogers said.
Instead, he said that in the three years he has headed the NSA, he has “never been directed to do anything that I believe to be illegal, immoral” or inappropriate. And, he added, “I do not recall having been pressured to do so.”
Warner said he was “disappointed” with the officials’ answers. He told Rogers the committee had “facts “ that other individuals were aware of his conversation with Trump and that a memo had been written about it.
Coats told associates in March that Trump asked him if he could intervene with Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials.
The conversations with Coats and Rogers took place in the wake of Comey testifying on March 20 that the FBI was investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.U.S xjs.us www.xjs.us us news