But today, before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Coats refused to give details about his conversations with the president, saying, "I do not feel that it's appropriate for me to, in a public session, in which confidential conversations between the president and myself - I don't believe it's appropriate to address that in a public session".
Coats is among a number of top U.S. national security officials scheduled to testify before the Senate panel - including acting Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Andrew McCabe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote the memo used as authorization to fire Comey, and Rogers, who reports say was also approached by Trump to defend Flynn.
Dan Coats also told a Senate panel he did not think it was "appropriate" to discuss his conversations with the president at a public hearing. But Rogers said he had never been directed to do anything illegal, immoral or inappropriate during his time as NSA director while Coats said he had never felt pressured to intervene in the shaping of intelligence.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein responded that when there's a Justice Department investigation, their default position is not to discuss that publicly. "Why are you not answering our questions?" a visibly angry King asked.
Rogers said he was standing by the answer he had given earlier in the hearing when Sen.
She said it appeared the intelligence officials were in a "limbo" where executive privilege had been discussed, but not yet decided on.
King also went after acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe for invoking the probe of special counsel Robert Mueller, when McCabe said he wouldn't comment on issues in the special counsel's lane.
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"I'm not sure I have a legal basis", Coats responded, "but I am more than willing to sit before this committee... in a closed session and answer your questions". And given the limited information they shared with the Senate's investigative committee on Russian Federation on Wednesday, Trump's top intelligence officials seem to be residing in that nuance.
The New York Times has reported that on February 14, the day after firing his national security director, Trump told Comey, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go".
"Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate", The Post's national security team reported.
"If any of this is true, it would be an appalling and improper use of our intelligence professionals", Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in his opening remarks on Wednesday, referring to the Tuesday report. "At some point these facts have to come out". Martin Heinrich (D-NM) expressed disbelief at how Coats and Rogers refused to answer a question that did not involve classified information. "I don't understand why you're not answering our questions".
In an interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" following the hearing, Republican Sen. Asked if he would be forthcoming in such a setting, Coats said he meant to, but did not know yet whether the White House would block such discussion by asserting that executive privilege covers his conversations with the president.
All four intelligence chiefs were asked multiple times by multiple committee members from both sides of the aisle whether Trump directly asked them to intervene in the Russian Federation investigation.