US Intel Chiefs Grilled Over Russian Connections

Olive Rios
June 11, 2017

In the first, published by the Washington Post on Tuesday, officials claimed that Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James Comey's Russian Federation probe, specifically the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.Comey is expected to testify before the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday about his encounters with Trump in the weeks before his May 9 firing, and his conversation with Sessions could come up at the hearing.

But that did not satisfy Democrats, who said there was no reason for them not to divulge the details.

The events involving Coats show the president went further than just asking intelligence officials to deny publicly the existence of any evidence showing collusion during the 2016 election, as The Washington Post reported in May.

Coats also said that if he is called before an investigative committee, such as the Senate Intelligence Committee, "I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don't know".

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who took over after Comey was sacked, will also be at Wednesday's hearing. Hale said in a statement: "Director Coats does not discuss his private conversations with the President".

Adding to the drama, a top secret NSA report leaked to online news outlet The Intercept shows that hackers from Russian military intelligence repeatedly tried to break into USA voting systems before last year's presidential election.

But the top Democrat on the committee, Mark Warner, said, you're all very relevant to this ongoing investigation we're doing, and while you are here, I'm going to ask about that. Coats, who was preparing for his confirmation hearing, felt blindsided, officials said.

"Not to my understanding, no", Mr Comey replied. [Angus] King, [I-Maine], Sen.

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 in the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 US election.

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

No definitive evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation has yet come to light, and there have not been any formal accusations that Trump sought to obstruct the investigation. We're saying, were you ever asked?

Republicans and Democrats on the panel examined and cross-examined the group - picking over their answers repeatedly.

After similar questions from Sen.

Later in the hearing, Republican Sen. Susan Collins joined her Democratic colleagues taking issue with the lack of answers from Coats and Rogers.

"Because of the sensitive nature and the executive privilege aspect of this, I do need to be talking to the general counsel and the White House", Rogers said.

"I have to be particularly careful about not stepping into the special counsel's lane", McCabe said.

This week, Donald Trump's attempts to shut down investigations into his team's possible ties to Russian Federation are coming back to bite him with a vengeance.

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

"You don't think the American people deserve an answer to that?" asked Sen.

By the end of the hearing, Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, delivered a clear message to the Trump administration - they can't avoid answering to Congress forever.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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