Burr Chides Top Admin Officials for Not Answering Questions During Senate Intel Hearing

June 7, 2017

Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) on Wednesday admonished senior Trump administration officials for not answering questions during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

Four top administration officials—National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—appeared before the committee as witnesses to discuss a range of topics.

Throughout the hearing, the witnesses said they could not answer several questions, leading Burr, the committee's chairman, to chide them before adjourning.

"Before we adjourn, I would ask each of you to take a message back to the administration," Burr said. "You're in positions whereby you're required to keep this committee fully and currently informed of intelligence activities ... At no time should you be in a position where you come to Congress without an answer.

"It may be in a different format, but the requirements of our oversight duties and your agencies demand it," the senator added.

Burr also reminded the officials that if they cannot answer questions in a public setting because doing so would require revealing sensitive, classified information, then there is a mechanism "to brief the appropriate parties."

The mechanism, Burr explained, is called the "Gang of Eight notification briefing," through which they could answer questions without announcing it to a full committee or in an open session. Burr noted that the witnesses have used the procedure in the past.