Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Comey hearing puts Rubio back in national spotlight


One senior administration official said "of course not" when asked by The Daily Beast whether top communications staff such as press secretary Sean Spicer and his deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders were informed that the president would be tweeting out the news about Wray on Wednesday morning, sans a basic press strategy in place. Trump may have, indeed, said something that a reasonable person might find damning (or that became damning in light of later revelations), but Rogers didn't have to deliver those facts, just his own stupidly-solicited opinion.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tried to push back on that argument, asking whether Mueller has told the witnesses they should not testify.

The Washington Post separately reported on Tuesday that Coats told associates in March that Trump asked him if he could intervene with then FBI Director Comey to get the FBI to back off its focus on Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, in its Russian Federation probe, according to officials.

"In the three-plus years that I have been the director of the National Security Agency, to the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, unethical, immoral or inappropriate", Rogers said, adding that he has never felt "pressured" to do so.

Two of the four national security executives scheduled to testify before the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday were reportedly asked by Trump to publicly state that there was no evidence of collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

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".

"You don't have a sitting president ask about an ongoing investigation, particularly when it involves close associates of the president and when the president went as far as to say back off, that is just unacceptable".

Moscow says 'zero' proof Russian hackers involved in Qatar crisis
A Pentagon spokesman said the crisis has had "no impact on our operations in Qatar or with regards to airspace permission around it".

The ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee says former FBI director James Comey's account of his conversations with the president about the Russian Federation investigation are "disturbing".

"I have never felt pressure to intervene, interfere in any way for shaping intelligence in any way", Coats said at one point. "He is a good guy", Comey quoted Trump as telling him on February 14 as they sat alone together in the Oval Office.

He was referencing a report from The Washington Post late Tuesday that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats had been pressured by Trump to intervene with Comey.

"We were not able to do so", Coats said shortly.

"What we don't seem to have is the same commitment to find out whether the president of the United States tried to intervene with members of the Intelligence Community and asked them to back off or downplay (the Russian Federation investigation)", Warner told the witnesses. Sen Richard Burr of North Carolina, said Tuesday that he will focus on reauthorizing a key portion of a US surveillance law that is set to expire later this year.

The chairman off the Senate intelligence committee, GOP.

Rogers testified that Section 702 was key in helping the NSA gather intelligence on Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

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