Two US intel chiefs say were never pressured by White House

"If we have evidence that the President of the United States intervened in an investigation, and asked Coats and (National Security Agency Director Michael) Rogers to back off, and then we have Director Comey tomorrow describing the conversations he had with the President, and the fact that he felt uncomfortable ... that's just unacceptable", Warner said.

DNI spokesman Brian Hale said in advance of the hearing, "Director Coats does not discuss his private conversations with the President".

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.

At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner asked Coats and Rogers about media reports that Trump has pressured them to downplay the Russian Federation investigation. Martin Heinrich today sparked a tense exchange with two of the nation's top intelligence and law enforcement chiefs about conversations they'd had with Comey and President Donald Trump about ongoing Russian Federation investigations.

Dan Coats said he didn't feel it was "appropriate" to discuss "confidential conversations between the President and myself" in a public, unclassified session.

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We don't know exactly what happened in the separate conversations between the president and Coats and Rogers. Sen.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked if they could show up in the SCIF, the secure facility for classified hearings, but Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said that was not an option.

He added he never recalled feeling "pressured to do so".

The day after the report, Coats declined to answer whether it was true - but Coats also teased that he may be open to answering the question if asked by the right committee.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who took over after Comey was sacked, will also be at the hearing.

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King then tried the same line of questioning with Coats, asking: "What is the legal basis for your refusal to testify to this committee?"

That may come as a relief to a White House that has been buffeted by a seemingly never-ending stream of controversial revelations, from allegations that the president attempted to influence the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to reports of internal divisions within the administration. Both Rogers and Coats were uneasy about the request, given that the FBI is conducting an investigation about the matter. The only thing they would say is that they never felt pressured to intervene in the Russian Federation investigation.

Mike Rogers, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will all testify before the Senate intelligence committee 24 hours before the Comey hearing.

Mike Toohey, president of the Waterways Council Inc, an inland waterways infrastructure advocacy group, said he was pleased to see the president addressing what he called the "silent r" of the transportation system - rivers.

In it Comey made clear he was uncomfortable discussing an ongoing investigation with the president, even as he assured Trump that he himself was not a target of the probe.

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