Monday, 28 September, 2020

Intelligence Heads Say No Pressure From Trump on Russia Probe

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins R-Maine asked a question of former FBI director James Comey on Thursday that elicited an interesting detail how Comey's memos describing his meetings with Trump came to be leaked to the press Intelligence Heads Say No Pressure From Trump on Russia Probe
Christy Curtis | 11 June, 2017, 06:57

Coats refused to confirm or deny Tuesday's explosive Washington Post report that cited USA officials saying Trump had asked Coats if he could lean on then-FBI director James Comey and urge him to ease the part of the Russian Federation probe that focused on sacked national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Warner pressed both of them, asking if Trump had made any such request to downplay the investigation.

The Post reported that Coats told associates that Trump asked him whether he could persuade former FBI Director James Comey to ease off an investigation into the former national security advisor.

Angus King repeatedly asked Rogers and Coats what was the legal basis for their refusal to answer questions. And among other things, the president says to Comey, I need loyalty.

The White House did not respond to questions of whether Trump would claim executive privilege Wednesday. The situation was so awkward that Comey didn't want to be alone with the president. This frustrated several members of the committee. And, you know, my job, sitting in that chair, Steve, is to represent the people of ME and ask the questions they would ask if they were sitting there. Neither would directly answer that query.

However, Coats said that he felt that conversations with the president should not be shared "with the general public".

Because the report apparently contains some classified information, Coats was unable to discuss specifics.

MARK WARNER: All I'd say.

The top Democrat on the committee has said he will ask Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers about the reports. "Directed", of course, is different than being asked.

USA surveillance practices have come under increased scrutiny amid unsubstantiated assertions by Trump and other Republicans that the White House under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, improperly spied on Trump or his associates. And Coats refused to discuss it, saying he is "not prepared to go down that road right now". We're saying, were you ever asked? And, he added, "I do not recall having been pressured to do so".

Samsung launches new 49-inch, curved, wide-screen monitor built for gaming
The 49-inch CHG90 is now available for pre-order on Amazon .com and at local Micro Center retail stores for an MSRP of $1,499. It's the tech giant's widest monitor ever and, according to Samsung , it was created to reinvent the gaming experience.

"What you feel isn't relevant, admiral", King fired back. "What you feel isn't the answer". I'm not interested in repeating myself, Sir. But I can tell you - I mean, James Comey has announced publicly that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating the connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians for - I don't know - probably a year at this point. He demanded a "legal justification" for not answering, and the witnesses did not supply any.

"What matters is whether or not President Trump has a corrupt intent when he spoke to Director Comey about dropping the Flynn investigation ... whether he was trying to get it stopped, and it seemed to me pretty clear that that's what was happening", Carpenter said.

Rogers said that "those conservations were classified" and that it is "not appropriate in an open forum to discuss those classified conversations".

Brian Hale, a DNI spokesman, declined to comment on whether Trump asked Coats to intervene with Comey regarding the Flynn investigation.

"If you've not had questions waived off with Mr. Mueller, I think frankly - and I understand your commitment to the administration - but Sen".

But Coats indicated that he would cooperate with the Russian Federation probe now being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

While none of the four witnesses said the Trump White House invoked executive privilege, they still said they wouldn't publicly reveal their private conversations.

At the close of the hearing, the Republican committee chairman, Sen. Comey appears before the same committee on Thursday.

Mr Comey is expected to tell Congress that he never assured President Trump that he was not under investigation over alleged links to Russian Federation, a version of events that would contradict the president's claims. Wednesday's testimony showed that to get to the bottom of that, the committee will have to fight for the necessary information-and it's unclear whether Burr and his fellow Republicans are willing to engage in such a battle.

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