Senators plan to use the opportunity to grill Rosenstein to answer questions in public for the first time about the President's motivations for firing Comey and whether it was meant to quash the Russian Federation investigation. McCabe said it was not appropriate for him to characterize the conversations he had with fired FBI Director James Comey.
"Director Coats does not discuss his private conversations with the President", he said.
Allegations that Russian Federation meddled with the US election to help Trump win have hung over the Republican president since he took office in January and threaten to overwhelm his policy priorities.
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.
Warner, along with several other senators, kept pushing and ultimately expressed frustration with the intelligence chiefs. Coats said he would first ask White House counsel to say whether it intends to invoke executive privilege-despite the fact that, according to the officials, it has not yet done so. Neither would directly answer that query.
"Are you prepared to say that you have never been asked by the President or the White House to influence an ongoing investigation?" asked Sen.
Because the report apparently contains some classified information, Coats was unable to discuss specifics. Mark Warner of Virginia, said that if the recent reports about White House efforts are true, "it would be an appalling and improper use of our intelligence professionals - an act that could erode the public's confidence in our intelligence institutions". "Directed", of course, is different than being asked. He also mentioned that there was more information received in the close door hearing pertinent to the investigation but would not elaborate. "Why are you not answering our questions?" a visibly angry King asked.
"Because I feel it is inappropriate", Rogers responded.
Comey said Trump asked him to back off his agency's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn by saying, "I hope you can let this go". Maybe you didn't feel pressure, but were you asked the question?
He grilled Coats with the same questions as well and attempted to get them both to commit to giving more direct and forthright answers in a closed session.
I have similar questions for Admiral Rogers. "I'm not interested in repeating myself, sir".
Coats did not offer any details, but said, "Just because it's in The Washington Post doesn't mean it's declassified". King asked McCabe, Mediate reports. "The question is why are you not answering the question?" "I'm not satisfied with "I do not believe it is appropriate" or 'I do not want to answer.' I want to understand the legal basis".
Coats said he believes the law is set up to ensure the privacy and civil liberties of Americans.
Top intelligence officials in the U.S. government have taken a bunker mentality when it comes to the investigation into Russian meddling in the United States election, refusing to share details of presidential conversations in open Senate testimony.
Coats made a blanket statement about investigations, but would not talk specifically about his conversation with Trump.
The officials' refusal to address whether Trump asked them to downplay or somehow impede the investigation disturbed the committee's Democrats, who were visibly frustrated by what one lawmaker called their "filibustering".