Contempt of Congress

So the hearings have begun, and Coats, Rogers and McCabe all refused to answer some of the questions, without being able to offer any legal justification for doing so.

Senators flashed anger on Wednesday as the Trump administration officials repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether the president had tried to interfere with the Russia investigation.

Senator Angus King, an independent of Maine, pressed Mr. McCabe on why he would not comment on conversations he may have had with Mr. Comey about his interactions with Mr. Trump. Mr. McCabe said he could not discuss anything “within the purview” of the Justice Department investigation being run by Robert S. Mueller III, who was appointed special counsel last month.

“Why does the special counsel get preference and not this committee?” Mr. King said, revealing senators’ intensifying concerns over the conflicting needs of the separate congressional and federal investigations into Russian interference.

Mr. King then turned his attention to Mr. Coats and Mr. Rogers, who refused answer in detail questions about reports that Mr. Trump had asked them to publicly or privately undermine the F.B.I. investigation.

Mr. Rogers said he had asked the White House whether it was invoking executive privilege to keep him from discussing possible related conversations with Mr. Trump, but had not gotten a response. Presidents have in the past cited the privilege to try to prevent Congress from seeking information about internal conversations in the executive branch.

Mr. Coats struggled to respond when Mr. King turned to him, the senator’s frustrations with the witnesses apparent.

“You swore that oath to tell us the truth,” Mr. King said, demanding the “legal basis” for Mr. Coats’ decision not to comment.

“I’m not sure I have a legal basis,” Mr. Coats said, adding that he would be happy to discuss it further in a closed-door session.

Oh well as long as there’s no legal basis, that’s fine then. Just go with your gut.

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