What You Feel isn’t Relevant, Admiral
There were some tense moments in yesterday’s Senate hearing and deservedly so. Marco Rubio did ask a fair question:
“Senators of both parties pushed repeatedly, and without success, to get all four officials to answer questions, citing their right to conduct oversight over the intelligence community as well as the public’s right to know.”
“If what is being said to the media is untrue, then it is unfair to the president of the United States,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) said. “And if it is true, then it’s something the American people need to know, and we as an oversight committee need to know, in order to do our job.”
“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,” Adm. Rogers said in front of the panel. “And to the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured.”
Mr. Coats said similarly that he hadn’t felt pressured “to intervene or interfere in any way in shaping intelligence in a political way or in relationship to an ongoing investigation.”
Rogers and Coats couldn’t seem to explain why they were refusing to answer. To be sure that in itself could be seen as damning. They also seemed to both suggest they had been spoken with by the WH regarding executive privilege but wouldn’t’ come out and invoke it-yet would still refuse to respond to questions not just about conversations with Herr Trump but conversations with Comey.
Angus King no doubt had the line of the day-what you feel isn’t relevant, admiral.
“Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) snapped at the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) in a contentious moment of a Senate hearing on Wednesday that delved into questions over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.”
“King, known as one of the Senate’s more genial members, reached a breaking point more than an hour into the hearing after Michael Rogers repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether President Trump tried to interfere in the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s actions and possible collusion with his campaign”.
“Rogers declined to answer questions about reports of his interactions with Trump throughout the morning, telling a visibly frustrated King that he didn’t feel it was appropriate.”
“What you feel isn’t relevant, admiral,” King said back at the NSA chief.
“Later, when Rogers said he did not mean for his answer to King’s question to sound confrontational, King said he did mean to sound confrontational.”
“It wasn’t the only showdown during King’s five-minute round of questioning, as he repeatedly pressed Rogers, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on the legal justification for their silence.”
“Why are you not answering these questions? Is there an invocation of executive privilege?” King demanded. “I’m not satisfied with, ‘I do not believe it’s appropriate’ or ‘I do not believe I should answer.’
“I’m not sure I have a legal basis,” Coats said at one point, adding that he would provide as much information as he was able behind closed doors.
“Rogers indicated that while he and Coats have had conversations with the White House about a potential claim of executive privilege, he said that they had not gotten a definitive answer.”
So it was left in this very murky state. They didn’t invoke executive privilege but seemed to be saying they’re not sure if they’re invoking it or not.
While Angus King gets the line of the day, N.M. Senate Democrat, Martin Heinrich also had some great exchanges and was not buying what they were selling.
“In a previous and equally tense moment, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) cut off Rosenstein by saying, “At this point you filibuster better than most of my colleagues.”
On her show last night Rachel Maddow pointed to Mike Rogers curious history. After the
stolen election the Trump transition had talked about promoting Rogers from a Director of the NSA to the Director of National Intelligence-which would make him the Director of all the intelligence agencies.
“The bosses of National Security Agency director Admiral Mike Rogers, who has been floated as a potential pick for national intelligence director under the Trump administration, asked the Obama administration to fire him just last month.”
So the question is begged: is Mike Rogers trying to protect Donald Trump for political reasons?
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.