Two heads of US intelligence agencies told Special Counsel Robert Mueller and senate investigators that US President Donald Trump had asked them to publicly deny his campaign colluded with Russia during the elections. However, neither of them felt they were being pressured by the president.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers each testified earlier this month before Mueller and the committee charged with investigating Russian interference in the US election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.
In separate public hearings both described their interactions with Trump as odd and uncomfortable, but they both denied that they felt pressured by the president to interfere, CNN reported on Thursday.
In separate closed meetings last week with Mueller both men said that they were surprised by the president’s request, but neither acted on it or saw it as an order.
The two also held classified hearings with senate investigators and anonymous Republican and Democrat sources told CNN that Trump had asked them to state publicly that he was not under investigation for involvement in the Russian hacking of the US presidential election.
In public hearings earlier this month neither man would say directly what Trump had said or describe details of the meeting.
“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,” Rogers said, “and to the best of my recollection during that same period of service I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so.”
Coates said, “In my time of service, which is interacting with the president of the United States or anybody in his administration, I have never been pressured — I have never felt pressured — to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relation to an ongoing investigation.”
A source told CNN that the men felt unable to give full details because the White House refused to tell them whether their conversations with the president were covered by executive privilege or not.
However, according to sources, in the private meetings both men said that they did not feel that the president was pressuring them into doing anything improper.