Top intelligence officials deny receiving pressure from US President Donald Trump

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In the Wednesday hearing, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers refused to discuss specifics about his conversations with Trump. New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich argued if the president did not ask officials to rein in the investigation, it ought to be easy to say so.

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], June 8: USA intelligence chiefs have refused to comment on whether President Donald Trump asked them to curb an FBI-led investigation into contacts between his election campaign and Moscow. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat. And when he said, I hope you can let this go, that's far from a directive. But then Marco Rubio - Republican from Florida and, of course, one-time presidential candidate - pointed out that this was a little subjective, and he said, we're not asking for classified information. But he said, here in this open session, I'm not going to get into conversations with the president.

Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, who has filled in since Trump fired Comey on May 9, also refused to answer whether he had discussed the firing with Comey himself, saying the issue stepped into the "lane" of the special counsel who has been appointed to investigate the Trump team's possible collusion with Russian Federation.

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

But King said their responses were unacceptable.

Sen. Angus King of ME, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, picked up on Heinrich's questions, demanding a "legal justification" for why Rogers and Coats were not answering questions.

King noted that none of the men were answering any of the questions the American public has, but none of the men gave a shit because they all wanted off the hot seat.

The senator wouldn't comment on whether or not he believes the firing of Comey amounts to an obstruction of justice - he said that is something the special prosecutor will decide. Maybe you didn't feel pressure, but were you asked the question?

Rogers also refused to answer Warner's questions about his conversations with Trump about the Russian Federation investigation.

On Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe noted that they had never been asked to intervene in an ongoing investigation.

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"I understand. I am not going to go down that road in a public forum", Coats responded. Seizing the opportunity, Senators from both sides of the aisle pressed the intelligence chiefs about reports that President Trump had approached them in order to influence the ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Warner said he came out of the hearing "with more questions than when I went in".

Warner said he was "disappointed" with the officials' answers. Was this appropriate behavior by the president the United States or not?

INSKEEP: Senator Angus King joins us now. "What you feel isn't the answer".

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

Harris, 52, is a newcomer to the Senate, but not to the role of questioning witnesses.

"Then why are you not answering our questions?" If you can talk about it sort of, you can also answer the questions. "And the committee is on notice to provide the witnesses the courtesy -- which has not been extended all the way across -- extend the courtesy for questions to get answers". After the hearing, Sen. Susan Collins joined her Democratic colleagues taking issue with the lack of answers from Coats and Rogers.

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.

Several congressional committees, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a special counsel, are investigating whether Russian Federation tried to tilt last November's election in Trump's favor, using means such as hacking into the emails of senior Democrats.