In the days and hours leading up to a hearing of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBC, and NBC) were giddy at the prospect of two heads of U.S. intelligence agencies fingering President Trump in a plot to shut down the Russian investigation. But after the two and a half hour long hearing, they weren’t kicking themselves for getting their hopes up, they were kicking Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Michael Rogers for not giving them what they wanted.
During their testimonies, both DNI Coats and NSA Director Rogers told the panel of Senators that they had never felt like President Trump was trying to influence them to interfere with any investigation. “I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so,” said Rogers, while Coats said, “I never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way.” Their sworn public testimony goes against press reports that cite anonymous sources who claim both men were pressured by Trump to interfere with the FBI’s investigation.
The statements by the intelligence chiefs didn’t sit well with ABC and NBC who smeared them as stonewalling the committee. “Top intelligence officials facing questions about reports the President asked some of them to get involved in the FBI’s Russia investigation,” reported Chief White House Correspondent Hallie Jackson on NBC Nightly News. “Asked to elaborate, they didn’t.” That was followed up by a series of quick clips of heated questioning:
SENATOR ANGUS KING: Why are you not answering?
MICHAEL ROGERS: Because I feel it’s inappropriate to answer.
KING: What you feel isn’t relevant, Admiral! What you feel isn’t the answer.
On ABC’s World News Tonight, they played up the tension. “Did he then pursue heads of the intelligence community? Today, those intelligence chiefs were on Capitol Hill,” hyped Anchor David Muir as he led into the segment. “They were asked, did the president ask them to intervene? Senators on both sides of the aisle were not pleased with what they heard.”
Correspondent Pierre Thomas started his report by calling the hearing a “standoff” and focusing on their refusal to give details of their conversations with Trump in a public setting. “At issue, critical conversations with the President,” Thomas said before citing even more anonymous sources. “Did the President then turn to the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, to sway him as well, as The Washington Post reported overnight?”
“Over and over, they would not reveal what, if anything, the President had said to them. And many Senators grew frustrated, saying there was no reason not to answer the questions,” Thomas bemoaned.
What both ABC and NBC failed to mention was that the public Senate hearing was not the only one Coats and Rogers attended on Wednesday. As discussed during the hearing, both intelligence chiefs and the Senators would be having a private hearing later in the day. Both men made a promise to the Senators during the public hearing to be more open during the private one.
Where was a questioner like that today during Comey’s testimony?
All we heard was how he felt.
He felt scared.
He felt confused.
He felt unsure.
He felt cowardly.
Etc., etc., etc.
He teared up at least twice while I was watching.
Big drama queen.
When he did claim factual points he got his timeline completely wrong.