ABC News reported this evening,
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared today before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
But questions from the panel turned to former FBI Director James Comey, the FBI’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election and whether President Trump asked two top intelligence officials to intervene in the investigation….
National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said they would not discuss the specifics of their conversations with President Trump and whether they were approached by the president to intervene in the FBI’s Russia investigation.
“I don’t believe it’s appropriate for me to address that in a public session,” Coats said in response to questioning by the committee’s ranking Democratic member Mark Warner, D-Va.
Rogers said he would also not comment on the conversations he may or may not have had with President Trump.
The Washington Post reported June 6th that Coats told associates a different story.
The nation’s top intelligence official told associates in March that President Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials.
On March 22, less than a week after being confirmed by the Senate, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats attended a briefing at the White House together with officials from several government agencies. As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey’s handling of it, said officials familiar with the account Coats gave to associates. Two days earlier, Comey had confirmed in a congressional hearing that the bureau was probing whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 race.
After the encounter, Coats discussed the conversation with other officials and decided that intervening with Comey as Trump had suggested would be inappropriate, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters.
A story in The New York Times today gives us some idea of what Coasts and Rogers are doing. The story focuses on Comey’s written testimony for the Senate Intelligence committee.
WASHINGTON — From his first days in office, President Trump repeatedly put pressure on his F.B.I. director, James B. Comey. He demanded loyalty. He asked that an investigation into an adviser be dropped. And he implored Mr. Comey to publicly clear his name.
As Mr. Comey described Wednesday in written testimony prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Trump’s entreaties continued for months, in unexpected phone calls and awkward meetings. As Mr. Comey’s discomfort grew, so did the president’s persistence and his frustration with Mr. Comey’s unwillingness to help.
Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey last month, and his account offered an extraordinary back story, one that unfolded with cinematic detail, terse dialogue and tense moments across a White House dinner table.
When Comey didn’t give Trump loyalty and drop the investigation of Flynn, he was fired. His testimony provides evidence that when Coats, Rogers and Rosenstein refused to answer questions today from the Senate Intelligence Committee they were trying to keep their jobs.