Former CIA director worried about Russian meddling

Burr said if there is no response from Flynn his committee may consider a contempt-of-Congress charge.

Brennan balked at addressing the notion of evidence, saying his role was in intelligence gathering, not determining what could be used as evidence in a criminal matter. Flynn has refused to hand over that information. Cummings' letter came the same day Flynn declined to provide documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.

Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia say they are disappointed that Flynn has chose to ignore the committee's subpoena.

The committee is investigating Russia's campaign meddling and possible ties to President Donald Trump's associates.

Former CIA Director John Brennan was anxious past year that Russian officials were trying to corrupt members of the Trump campaign but he doesn't know whether their contacts amounted to collusion to sway the presidential election.

Brennan was President Barack Obama's Central Intelligence Agency director.

"I encountered and became aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and United States persons involved in the Trump campaign", Brennan said.

Contrast that with Trump's stance: That this entire proceeding - up to and including the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee an independent investigation - is a "witch hunt". Earlier this month, the committee asked Flynn and other Trump associates for lists of meetings and notes taken during the presidential campaign. Had she won, Brennan said, Russian Federation would have continued to attempt to "denigrate her and hurt her" during her presidency.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says he will postpone a hearing scheduled for Wednesday after speaking with former FBI Director James Comey. The website released material hacked from email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign officials during last year's presidential campaign.

Brennan also said that, if press reports are accurate, Trump may have violated two major protocols governing the sharing of classified information when he spoke with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office on May 10.

Brennan led the CIA during a critical period a year ago when USA intelligence agencies concluded that Russian Federation was not only attempting to disrupt the election but was actively seeking to defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and help elect Trump.

A group of Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee has voted against confirming a high-ranking Treasury Department official.

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Sens. Sherrod Brown, Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren and several others have voted against Sigal Mandelker as undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. "Frequently, individuals on a treasonous path do not even realize they're on that path until it gets to be too late", he said. The full committee voted 16-7 to move Trump's pick to the full Senate.

Brennan told the lawmakers that he had made contact with his Russian counterpart, head of Russia's Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, in August and warned him that any interference in the US presidential election would "destroy any near-term prospect" of improved relations between the USA and Russia.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the newspaper's report Monday is an indication that Trump is trying to impede the investigation.

So when Brennan says the Russian efforts to "suborn" members of the Trump campaign "raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals", it makes it far more hard for Trump and his senior aides to dismiss all of the questions about Russia's involvement in the election as simply a media-created conspiracy.

Brennan said he doesn't know if there was collusion with the Trump campaign, but that he felt the FBI investigation into the matter was "certainly well-founded".

Coats also decried leaks relating to US intelligence, telling the committee, "Lives are at stake in many instances and leaks jeopardize those lives".

"I said American voters would be outraged by any attempt to interfere in the election", he added. He said the Russian official denied such interference but also said he would relay the concern to President Vladimir Putin. He said that it's possible Russian Federation saved some information that could have been released to damage Clinton's standing should she have won the presidency. That there's no truth in any of the media reports suggesting that the likes of Michael Flynn, Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner may have had interactions with the Russians that crossed a line.

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that former and current officials had said Donald Trump had asked two intelligence heads to publically push back against an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation.

He was asked about a Washington Post that said Trump asked Coats and Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to push back against an FBI investigation that's been examining potential coordination between Moscow and the presidential campaign.

Coats said that "I don't feel it's appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president".

Earlier this month, former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified that she expected White House officials to "take action" after warning that then-national security adviser Michael T. Flynn had misled administration officials about his contacts with Russian Federation.

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