USA intelligence chief 'never been asked to act illegally'

Monday, 12 Jun, 2017

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is set to testify for the first time in public since he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russian Federation probe, and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers is also expected to face questions of whether Trump asked him to rebut Comey in public.

Other senators also signaled they'd use the hearing as an opportunity to push for more information about the Comey firing - and the Russian Federation investigation - even though the hearing is supposed to focus on FISA.

National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers says he's never been asked to do anything illegal or felt pressure to do anything immoral during his three years as head of the intelligence agency.

ROGERS: - That I felt to be inappropriate, nor have I felt pressured to do so.

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.

Those answers didn't satisfy the senators. "I mean, it's detailed as you know from reading the story as to when you met, what you discussed, et cetera, et cetera".

"I'm not sure I have a legal basis", Coats said.

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.

In a much-awaited event, Comey will testify on Thursday before the same U.S. Senate panel, in his first public appearance since Trump fired him on May 9.

Comey said Trump told him at a dinner on January 27, a week after the president took office, that: "I need loyalty".

The committee was specifically discussing section 702 of the act.

In an often contentious hearing on Capitol Hill, two intelligence chiefs testified Wednesday that they've never felt pressured to take improper actions regarding intelligence matters, including the investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election. Both Rogers and Coats were uneasy about the request, given that the FBI is conducting an investigation about the matter.

McCabe told King he didn't know if he could answer or not, stating it might "fall within the purview" of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

On Tuesday, committee chairman Sen.

Rogers said that "those conservations were classified" and that it is "not appropriate in an open forum to discuss those classified conversations". "At no time should you be in a position that you come to Congress without an answer ..." "The requirements of our oversight responsibilities and your agencies deserve it".

Later in the hearing, Sen. Warner responded. "Because that is what the questions are being asked about, reports that nobody has laid to rest here that the President intervened directly in an ongoing FBI investigation". "Now that was not something that was made up by a United States senator".

None of the four witnesses provided solid legal rationales for their refusal to provide answers on this front, and they did not say that the president had invoked executive privilege.

On March 22, less than a week after being confirmed by the Senate, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats attended a briefing at the White House with officials from several government agencies.