The refusal of the Director of National Intelligence and NSA director to answer questions from the congress is creating a backlash among Washington, DC Republicans.
Both Director of National Intellegence Dan Coats and NSA director Mike Rogers repeatedly stonewalled the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. Wolf Blitzer’s panel on CNN’s The Situation Room explained how such a legal posture by President Donald Trump’s White House will play out in DC.
Evan Perez, CNN’s justice correspondent, characterized the “disdain at the questions” shown by administration officials. “I have no empathy for those four men at that table today because the disrespect that they showed this very important committee, trying to get answers for the public, it was so visible.”
“These are important questions and he didn’t seem to care,” Perez concluded.
It was unclear under what legal theory congress was stonewalled.
“Coats, who has served in the senate on two separate occasions, knows what this means. he has been on the other side of it yet he can’t come up with an answer,” CNN political analyst Mark Preston noted. “Basically he says, ‘let’s go behind closed doors and I’ll tell you everything…except I’ll have to go talk to the White House legal counsel first’ because they may then invoke executive privilege.”
Notably, the disgust with today’s hearing is further the divide between the Republican White House and the Republican Congress.
Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) “chided these witnesses for not bringing answers to the committee,” CNN political analyst Rebecca Berg explained. “Republicans in Congress may be Republicans, Wolf, but they still care about congressional authority and congressional power.”
Watch the whole segment.