Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers did not deny that Donald Trump asked them to “intervene” in the FBI’s Russia investigation in their testimony this morning before the Senate Intelligence Committee. When asked repeatedly by Senator Mark Warner neither Coats or Rogers refuted that President Trump made such a request and Coats stated he would only say more in a closed session.
However, according to multiple reports in the Washington Post, President Trump asked Coats to intervene with then-FBI director James Comey on March 22 in a private meeting and separately asked both Coats and Rogers to help push back against Russia stories.
DNI Dan Coats
WARNER: When you appeared before SASC you said and I quote, “If called before the investigative committee, I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don’t know.” I have great respect for you. You served on this committee. I remember as well when we confirmed you and I was proud to support your confirmation. You said that you would cooperate with this committee in any aspects that we request in the Russia investigation. We now have press reports, and you can lay them to rest if they are not true, but we have press reports of not once but twice when the President of the United States asked you to either downplay the Russia investigation or to directly intervene with Director Comey. Can you set the record straight about what happened or didn’t?
COATS: Well, Senator, as I responded to a similar question in my confirmation and in a second hearing before the committee, I do not feel it’s appropriate for me to, in a public session, in which confidential conversations between the President and myself, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for me to address that in a public session.
NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers
WARNER: In your course prior to the incident that we’re going to discuss, was it in any regular course where a president would ask you to comment or intervene in any ongoing FBI investigation? Not talking about this circumstance, but is there any prior experience with that?
ROGERS: I’m not going to talk about theoreticals today.
WARNER: Let me ask you specifically. Did the president, the reports that are out there, ask you in any way, shape or form to back off or downplay the Russia investigation?
ROGERS: I’m not going to discuss the specifics of conversations with the president of the United States, but I stand by the comment I just made to you, sir.
WARNER: Do you feel that those conversations were classified? We know there was an ongoing FBI investigation through press reports.
ROGERS: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Published: Jun 7, 2017