Democrats furious at evasive answers at hearing

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Rogers refused to say whether the president had ever asked him to intervene in the FBI investigation into Trump's associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn. On Tuesday night, The Post reported that Coats told associates in March that Trump asked him to try to persuade Comey to back off the FBI's investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn's ties to Russian Federation.

When asked to comment on conversations with the President, the committee declined and said they would not make comments in a public forum.

Before Senate investigators probe former FBI Director James Comey, they will press four intelligence officials Wednesday in a hearing that on any other week would be the biggest event on Capitol Hill.

But Coats and Rogers, together with acting Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, repeatedly and firmly refused to comment on the substance of their conversations with the president.

Comey's testimony about Trump was damaging.

The Washington Post said in an article published June 6 that said Trump pressed Coats to intervene with the FBI on the investigation of Flynn.

King: "Why are you not answering?" Mark Warner of Virginia, said in his opening statement.

Early Wednesday, Trump announced his pick to succeed Comey at the FBI - Christopher Wray, a former Justice Department official who served as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's lawyer during the George Washington Bridge lane-closing investigation. Angus King, I-Maine, he could not specify what was classified about the conversation.

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But Coats indicated that he would cooperate with the Russian Federation probe now being led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Yesterday, the same committee asked intelligence agency chiefs about their talks with the president.

"If I'm called before an investigative committee, I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don't know", Coats said on May 23. I have similar questions for Admiral Rogers.

Rogers said he would not discuss "theoreticals" or specifics of any interactions with Trump. "Beyond that, there's no excuse for not answering the question". Comey had told the president at the time that he wasn't a target of the probe, but Trump fired him when he didn't go public exonerating Trump.

Trump on Wednesday said he meant to nominate a former Justice Department official, Christopher Wray, to replace Comey as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Is it an invocation of executive privilege? But both also said they still need to consult the White House on whether executive privilege will be invoked. "Didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of the special counsel", Comey said.

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee is making a pitch for the reauthorization of a law governing the collection of foreign intelligence, saying it's critical to monitoring militants, potential terror threats and is subject to multiple layers of oversight. And you can't get to the facts if the witnesses won't answer the questions.

Rogers and Coats argued that they viewed the content of their conversations with the president as classified - a claim that was met with some skepticism.

Last month, Mr. Rosenstein found himself in the hottest of spotlights after Mr. Comey's firing and the White House cited a memo he wrote as the rationale for Mr. Comey's dismissal.