Senate Committee Hearing With Intelligence Chiefs

Coats will be asked about the meeting during testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee early Wednesday.

But he later demurred when asked whether he was prepared to say that he had never been asked to influence an ongoing investigation, saying, "What I'm not willing to do is to share confidential information that I think ought to be protected in an open hearing".

Heinrich: You've said it would be inappropriate to answer a simple question about whether the president asked for your assistance in blunting the Russian Federation investigation. "You swore that oath - to tell us the truth".

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.

A few minutes prior, Senator Martin Heinrich (D- NM) asked acting Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe about conversations he's had with James Comey about his conversations with President Trump.

Martin Heinrich today sparked a tense exchange with two of the nation's top intelligence and law enforcement chiefs about conversations they'd had with Comey and President Donald Trump about ongoing Russian Federation investigations.

A spokesman for Pompeo declined to comment on the closed-door discussions.

The Kremlin denies USA intelligence agencies' conclusion that Moscow tried to tilt the election campaign in Trump's favor, using means such as hacking into the emails of senior Democrats. "He is a good guy", Comey quoted Trump as telling him on February 14 as they sat alone together in the Oval Office.

Trump, a ratings-obsessed former reality television star, may not appreciate the worldwide attention paid to Comey's public testimony, which is being touted as the height of political drama.

He will have limited power to influence the agency's Russian Federation investigation, which was placed in the hands of an independent prosecutor - former FBI director Robert Mueller - following Comey's dismissal.

The President then complained about Comey's handling of the FBI investigation, officials familiar with Coats' account told the paper. Again, Coats decided not to act on the request.

"I don't believe it's appropriate for myself to address that in a public session", Coats responded to a visibly frustrated Warner.

Comey did not say whether he thought the president's actions amounted to obstructing the investigation, a charge made by some Democrats, and which is expected to feature highly in lawmakers' questions Thursday.

The White House backed away from the idea of naming Feinberg after Coats and members of the intelligence community and Congress raised objections.

"If he's even asking.at some point, these facts have to come out", Warner said.

Both Coats and Rogers said they had contacted the White House to ask whether it meant to invoke executive privilege regarding the president's conversations with them, which could prevent the intelligence chiefs from testifying about them.

In an appearance last month before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Coats refused to provide details about his interactions with Trump.

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