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Senator grills intelligence chiefs for refusing to answer questions about Trump

13 June 2017

During Wednesday morning's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers, and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly declined to directly answer whether Trump asked them to publicly downplay the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Russian Federation probe, or to otherwise interfere with the investigation, as numerous reports claim.

Warner was referring to reports, first published last month in The Washington Post, that Trump asked Coats and Rogers to publicly deny any collusion between his campaign and Russian officials in the 2016 presidential election.

According to some key senators, Coats may reveal more about his interactions with Trump, including when the President reportedly urged the former IN senator to rebut the notion there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

DNI spokesman Brian Hale said in advance of the hearing, "Director Coats does not discuss his private conversations with the President". "To the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so", Rogers said.

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And Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron pledged during the election not to go into coalition with either the Tories or Labour. DUP leaders said in a statement that there were "no red lines" on the topic of supporting the Conservatives in Parliament.

Mr Trump was also accused of asking Mr Comey directly, during a one-on-one conversation in the Oval Office, to drop the Flynn investigation.

"I've never been directed to do anything inappropriate nor have I felt pressured to do so", Director Rogers said. Richard Burr (R-NC) said the intent of the hearing is about reauthorizing the foreign intelligence surveillance law, but other senators are expected to want to discuss Trump's firing of Comey and whether the president meant to hinder the probe into Russian.

To put it in frustratingly opaque government-speak, these top intelligence officials haven't confirmed whether Trump had inappropriate conversations with them about the FBI investigation.

The Post reported that Coats shared details of that March 22 conversation with associates and that he felt uncomfortable with the request. Mark Warner (D-Va.) asked whether Rogers had been pressured to get the Federal Bureau of Investigation to back off Flynn. The veteran Republican John McCain said it was "Orwellian" that it was possible it read in the Washington Post about extraordinary pressure on intelligence chiefs from the president, which McCain said was "more than disturbing if true", but not to get clear answers in a formal Senate hearing.

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However, two stunning late free-kicks from Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths handed the Scots a 2-1 lead in the final minutes. "For about two or three minutes, I have to say I hadn't been in atmosphere like it for a long time in a football ground".

"Well, Senator, I just hate to keep repeating this, but I'm going to do it", Coats replied.

President Donald Trump's national security team will appear before a Senate panel Wednesday to discuss gathering intelligence on foreign agents and will likely be asked about Russia's election meddling and whether the president has tried to influence ongoing investigations.

Two of the men he would have had to convince to do that, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, testified before the committee on Wednesday.

Asked by ME independent Sen. I don't care how you felt.

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May called the election called in a bid to strengthen her mandate ahead of European Union exit talks. Mr Corbyn's party is now six points ahead following a disastrous election for the Prime Minister.

Senator grills intelligence chiefs for refusing to answer questions about Trump