Coats came closest to directly responding to a question: "I have never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relation to an ongoing investigation", Coats said in answering questions from Sen. His exchange was shared and discussed widely on social media, with many praising his tenacity while others accused him of grandstanding.
Since assuming the role of special counsel, Mueller has bolstered that reputation by staffing his office with former colleagues from the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr and his former law partner James Quarles, who worked on the Watergate investigation. "I'm with you on that".
"Well, I think your unwillingness to answer a very basic question speaks volumes", Heinrich said.
We were fortunate, then, that Coats and Rogers were scheduled to appear yesterday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, where they could answer oversight questions about this very issue. Is it an invocation of executive privilege? "Is there or not?"
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio asked if there was "a significant uptick" in unmasking requests by the Obama administration, but Rogers replied that he did not know. "I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so".
King: "What you feel isn't relevant, Admiral".
1. Did Trump pressure Coats and Rogers to dismiss concerns about Russian Federation?
When a USA person is involved in these monitored conversations in any way, Rogers said, "we first ask ourselves if we are looking at a potentially criminal act". About "10% of the time", Rogers said, incidental collection occurs "when we are targeting a valid foreign intelligence target who ends up having a conversation with a USA person".
Trump berates Qatar as Gulf stand-off escalates
Still, the Pentagon has been developing contingency plans in case there's any interruption, defense officials said. Trump says the country has "historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level".
Rogers: "I stand by the comments that I've made".
"I'm not sure I have a legal basis, but I am more than willing to sit before this committee.in a closed session and answer your questions", Coats said. It wasn't because Trump had asserted executive privilege; Rogers said he asked the White House counsel about that but "I didn't get a definitive answer".
King, in a brief interview after Wednesday's hearing, acknowledged that he was frustrated.
The lack of answers appeared to frustrate both Democratic and Republican senators, who repeatedly pressed the intelligence officials on the Russian Federation inquiry. "I have never been directed to do anything that I believed to be immoral", he said.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of FBI Director James Comey at the FBI Headquarters on October 28, 2013. "Ours is to determine facts, to see that something like this doesn't happen in the future". "The American public deserves to know what the president of the United States did and what he asked of the leaders of our intelligence community".
As King grilled the three top intelligence officials, Washington journalists and pundits turned King's outrage into a trending topic on Twitter.
The latest report adds to questions of whether Trump interfered in the Russian Federation investigation, just one day before Comey is set to testify on Trump's request that he end his investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. "King gives it to them".
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tried to push back on that argument, asking whether Mueller has told the witnesses they should not testify. King said he expects Comey to be more forthcoming in his testimony Thursday but couldn't predict what might come out. He feels unless we find a way to stop it, it's going to happen again.