Top intelligence officials deny receiving pressure from Trump

Washington: Top American officials on Thursday denied reports that the intelligence community received any pressure from US President Donald Trump to help ease an FBI probe into an aide’s Russia ties.

Such a revelation came moments before fired FBI Director James Comey in a prepared statement claimed that Trump asked him to stop the FBI investigation against former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

“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, immoral, unethical or inappropriate,” National Security Agency director Admiral Michael Rogers told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during a Congressional hearing.

“To the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so, Rogers said.

“I’m not going to discuss the specifics of conversations with the President of the United States, but I stand by the comment I just made to you, sir,” Rogers said in response to a question from Senator Mark Warner, Ranking Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Rogers in fact had heated exchange of words with Warner during the Congressional hearing. A day later Comey is scheduled to testify before the same Senate Committee.

“I stand by my previous statement, that we are in a public session here and I do not feel that it is appropriate for me to address confidential information,” said Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence.

“Most of the information I’ve shared with the President, obviously, is directed toward intelligence matters during our oval briefings every morning at the White House, or most mornings when both the president and I’m in town,” Coats said.

“But for intelligence-related matters, or any other matters that have been discussed, it is my belief that it’s inappropriate for me to share that with the public,” he added.