Monday, 23 October, 2017

US intelligence chiefs decline to discuss Trump contacts

Erik Tate | 11 June, 2017, 10:24

"The chair is going to exercise the right to allow the witnesses to answer the question", Burr said after cutting off Harris' questions.

There were two logical possibilities, the official said: first, that the media reports are true and Trump did say something that could be construed as inappropriate.

"You're asking me... [to] comment on the integrity of the Washington Post's reporting?"

KING: Well I do mean it in a contentious way, I don't understand why you're not answering our questions.

King then asked Coats and Rogers whether they would commit to answering the questions in a closed session. Trump has sometimes pointed to that memo to justify sacking Comey, and on other occasions has said he would have fired him anyway, referring to the Russian investigation as a factor. "I don't think this is the appropriate venue to do this in".

Rogers said he was not answering questions on the content of his conversations with Trump "because I feel it is inappropriate". There's not much question that he felt it was inappropriate because that's when he started keeping what amounted to a diary of these contacts.

Later in the hearing, Sen.

Comey said he was taken aback by specific requests, including one during a private Oval Office meeting in February where he said Trump asked him to end a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Rosenstein gave lengthy replies, but refused to give Harris a yes or no answer.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats repeatedly refused to answer questions Wednesday from members of a congressional committee to which he belonged in recent years.

London mayor says Trump will not 'divide our communities'
Asked if Trump was criticizing the mayor of London because he is Muslim, Sanders said that was "utterly ridiculous". Trump's comments caused outrage among British officials, many of whom call London home.

Trump has repeatedly denied any coordination took place between his campaign and the Russian government, which, according to USA intelligence agencies, stole emails embarrassing to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and leaked them to undermine her campaign.

On one subject, Comey confirmed that the president is being truthful: Comey did tell him three times that he was not personally under investigation.

During his Congressional briefing organised by the powerful Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday, Comey confessed that he leaked the information about his interaction with the USA president.

King then tried the same line of questioning with Coats, asking: "What is the legal basis for your refusal to testify to this committee?"

Wednesday's hearing was supposed to focus on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law that governs how USA intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance and collect information between foreign powers and "agents of foreign powers" suspected of terrorism.

"I do not share with the general public conversations that I have with the President or many of my colleagues within the administration that I believe should not be shared", Coats repeated.

Some officials said they viewed the prospective appointment of Feinberg as an effort by the White House to put pressure on intelligence agencies to close ranks with the White House.

King was in full fuss-fight mode and shot back, equally snarky: "Well, I do mean it in a contentious way". What you feel is not the answer.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's open hearing will feature officials closely tied to President Donald Trump's abrupt firing last month of Comey, which sparked accusations that the Republican president had dismissed him to hinder the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe and stifle questions about possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

The Washington Post said in an article published June 6 that said Trump pressed Coats to intervene with the FBI on the investigation of Flynn.

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