Top intelligence officials deny receiving pressure from US President Donald Trump

Top intelligence officials deny receiving pressure from US President Donald Trump

Four top administration officials-National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein-appeared before the committee as witnesses to discuss a range of topics.

Similarly, Coats said, "I have never felt pressured to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or intervene in an investigation".

Trump was asked, "Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey, in any way, shape or form, to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn?".

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the second-ranking official at the Department of Justice who signed a letter recommending Comey's dismissal, will testify, a day ahead of Comey's own hotly anticipated testimony in the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 US election.

But a former Federal Bureau of Investigation official and a prominent Washington, D.C., law professor said they don't see a crime in what Comey reported that Trump said.

"Then why are you not answering our questions?"

New York GOP Rep. Chris Collins told reporters that Trump acted appropriately when asking former FBI Director James Comey to go easy on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who is under a federal investigation regarding his contacts with Russian Federation.

"We have a special counsel who is investigating", Rosenstein said, when asked about a memo he had written that the White House held up as justification for Comey's May 9 firing.

"I am not going to discuss the specifics of any interactions or conversations. that I have had with the president", Rogers said, when probed by top Democrat Mark Warner.

Trump has previously denied that he told Comey to end the investigation.

With carefully parsed wording, two top us intelligence officials told a Senate committee today that they were never directed by the White House to intervene on the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. "I think any president can be expected to know when he asks the Director of the FBI to back off on an investigation of possible treason, that that's obstruction of justice". Pressed by King for the legal basis for his refusal, Coats said: "I'm not sure I have a legal basis".

The prepared statement also seemed to confirm reports that Trump asked Comey to "let go" of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey's opening statement, made public a day before he is set to testify, states that he informed Trump that he was not personally under investigation, validating the president's previous claims that Comey told him was not the target of the probe.

White House officials had weighed trying to block Comey from testifying by arguing that his discussions with the president pertained to national security and that there was an expectation of privacy.

This involves proving the "defendants' mental state when they committed the act". And, he added, "I do not recall having been pressured to do so".

In another discussion, a phone call on March 30, Comey said Trump described the overall Russian Federation probe as "a cloud" that made it hard for him to lead the country.

Thursday's public hearing begins at 10am ET.

Rogers said he was standing by the answer he had given earlier in the hearing when Sen.

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