Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Wednesday he has "never" felt pressured by the Trump administration to shape intelligence in response to questions about President Donald Trump's reported conversations with him about the federal Russia investigation.
Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) asked Coats to "set the record straight" about a Washington Post report that Trump asked Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers to push back against the federal investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Coats, appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he felt it was inappropriate to comment publicly on private interactions with Trump. Warner said he respected Coats' service, but he added that the public's right to know had to be weighed as well.
"I hope as we move forward on this, you'll realize the importance that the American public deserves to get the answers to the questions," Warner said.
Warner wanted to stop the exchange there, but Coats said he wanted to respond. He first reiterated that he felt that it was not an appropriate venue to discuss such intelligence matters openly, but he then addressed the Washington Post story about him specifically.
"I have never been pressured, I have never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relationship of an ongoing investigation," Coats said.
Warner interrupted and told Coats he may not have felt pressure, but if Trump even made the request, it was a "very relevant piece of information."
Rogers would not comment on specific interactions with Trump, but he also said Wednesday that he had never been told or pressured to do anything illegal or inappropriate during his tenure at the NSA.