Intelligence Chiefs Say They Weren't 'Pressured' to Intervene in FBI Investigation

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. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat.

However, neither would discuss their conversations with Trump, and declined to say if he asked them to take any action regarding the investigations.

King wasn't the only senator who was frustrated by the intelligence officials' refusal to answer questions.

"You can clear an bad lot up by simply saying it never happened", Heinrich later said.

Sen. Mark Warner, the committee's vice chairman, said Wednesday it would be his first question of the hearing.

Intelligence Director Coats said it was not feasible for the NSA to provide an estimate of the number of Americans whose communications are ensnared incidentally under Section 702. "At no time should you be in a position that you come to Congress without an answer ..."

Heinrich: So, you're not invoking executive privilege, and obviously, it's not classified.

NSA Director Mike Rogers says he has not yet received an answer from the White House about whether the president meant to invoke the authority afforded to him to withhold certain communications from the public.

And here's a blow-by-blow transcript of how it went down starting with Heinrich questioning Acting FBI Director McCabe. 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.

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"I think what you are seeing from some of my Republican colleagues, we're committed to getting to the truth, following the facts, but I think you are seeing some Republicans, particularly House members, try to throw up other stories", Warner said.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the second-ranking official at the Department of Justice who signed a letter recommending Comey's dismissal, will testify a day ahead of Comey's own hotly anticipated testimony.

"Is that the rule for the President of the United States as well?"

Warner pressed both of them, asking if Trump had made any such request to downplay the investigation. Why would it not be appropriate for you to share that conversation with us?

The panel's chair, Sen.

Burr had previously intervened on behalf of the witnesses after a series of tense exchanges during which Democrats cut off or talked over their answers.

Those questions did not get far.

The Virginia Democrat emphasized the troubling "pattern" he sees in the Russian Federation probe and discussed news reports that Trump sought to pressure senior intelligence officials related to the investigation. A follow-up session behind closed doors is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. McCain said he hopes that option will soon become available. But a source told CNN Comey is expected to explain that those were much more nuanced conversations from which Trump concluded that he was not under investigation.

  • Annette Adams