Top Intelligence Officials Mum on Interactions With President

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I am not going to discuss the specifics of any interaction or conversations I may or, if I could finish please, that I may not have had with the President of the United States. "I have never felt pressure to interfere or intervene in shaping intelligence in a political way", Coats told the panel.

After a briefing at the White House attended by officials from several government agencies, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to the Post.

Though Coats refused to say whether Trump asked him about the Russian Federation probe or mentioned Comey, he and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers both testified that they did not feel pressure from Trump or the White House to influence the Russian Federation investigation.

On Tuesday, Entous reported that Coats told associates the president asked him if he could intervene in then-FBI Director James B. Comey's investigation into Russian Federation.

"The President has said in his own words that he fired Mr. Comey to make the investigation go away", said Wyden, an Oregon Democrat. King wanted to know why they weren't answering questions as to whether they had had conversations with the president, or whether or not they had conversations with now former FBI Director James Comey about Trump.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is holding two days of highly anticipated hearings that could shed new light on the state of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

"This elaborate "we won't answer" - they were in fact implying that there was something to discuss", King said on MSNBC.

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Michael Rogers said that he had never been asked to do anything illegal or inappropriate during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. "Why are you not answering these questions?"

Bars in Washington are opening early to allow patrons to imbibe while watching Comey get grilled, with at least one bar offering to buy a round of drinks on the house every time Trump tweets about Comey's testimony.

"I think your unwillingness to answer a very basic question speaks volumes", said Sen.

Coats pulled that card last month at a separate hearing. Trump reportedly has at various times in private conversations with Comey asked him for a pledge of loyalty and also urged him to drop the probe into Flynn. Coats decided any intervention would be inappropriate, the report said. "If the special counsel Bob Mueller had put constraints on them, or if the President had made the mistake of asserting executive privilege, then I would've understood their failure to respond".

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked Coats and Rogers whether they would commit to answer questions about their conversations with Trump during a closed session with the committee.

At the close of the hearing, the Republican committee chairman, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) asked whether Rogers had been pressured to get the Federal Bureau of Investigation to back off Flynn. "You are inappropriately refusing to answer these questions today", King told Rogers.

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