United States spy chiefs are ducking questions about Trump and Russian Federation
McCabe said that wouldn’t be appropriate, and King grilled him for a little longer before turning to NSA chief Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
The top United States intelligence official told associates in March that President Donald Trump asked him if he could assist in getting former FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of its Russian Federation probe, The Washington Post reported.
The Senate intelligence committee is back in the national spotlight for two days of blockbuster hearings and following news that relations between President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had reached a boiling point surrounding his recusal from the Justice Department’s Russian Federation investigation. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat.
HEINRICH: I’m not asking you that.
Coats said in response to a line of questioning from Arizona Sen.
In it, Comey details a series of interactions with Trump that made him uneasy and appear to show the president disregarding the FBI’s traditional independence from the White House.
That led King to angrily shoot back, “I don’t understand why you’re not answering our questions”.
But some on the committee keep pressing, asking questions Rogers and Coats would not answer in a public meeting.
“Why are you not answering the questions?”
“I don’t care how you felt”.
Heinrich said Coats’ unwillingness to answer “speaks volumes”.
He told the Senate Intelligence Committee that even if he dedicated more resources the NSA would not be able to calculate an estimate, which privacy experts have said could be in the millions.
HEINRICH: So you don’t think the American people deserve to know the answer to that question.
Both Coats and Rogers are testifying before the Senate committee on Wednesday, as well as Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Trump announced in January that he was nominating Coats to serve as DNI, an office which is responsible for overseeing USA intelligence agencies and for briefing the president on global developments.
The panel’s ranking Democrat, Sen.
“What was the answer to that question?” “Let’s get that question clarified”.
Two days earlier, Comey acknowledged publicly for the first time that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between the Trump team and Kremlin during the election. Susan Collins joined her Democratic colleagues taking issue with the lack of answers from Coats and Rogers.
Trump’s surrogates may have said earlier this week that the President will not block Comey from testifying by claiming executive privilege.
“And the conversations that the president had with each of them about investigations are not classified in any way”.
The four witnesses had come before the committee to discuss the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – the program some in the Trump administration accused intelligence community officials of abusing in order to improperly “unmask” Trump campaign officials.
Coats’ testimony before the Senate intelligence committee has been scheduled for weeks, an event that was already expected to kick off two days of blockbuster hearings. He indicated he would be happy to talk to this committee in closed session or be happy to talk to Special Prosecutor Mueller.