House panel doesn’t bring up Trump to Rogers
National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers was at the heart of a bombshell report Monday that President Donald Trump asked him and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to dispute to publicly deny evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.
But you wouldn’t have known it from a House armed services subcommittee hearing Tuesday.
Rogers testified fewer than 24 hours after the news broke, but for 75 minutes Tuesday, any questions involving Trump’s conversations with Rogers were never raised by either Democrats or Republicans on the House panel.
Of course, Rogers was appearing in his role as head of US Cyber Command to talk about the budget and cyber issues. But just hours earlier, Coats faced repeated questions about his conversations with Trump — from Republicans and Democrats alike — during a Senate armed services hearing on worldwide threats.
Why the different treatment?
For one, Coats is a former Republican senator tapped by Trump as his intel chief, while Rogers is a four-star admiral who was nominated to be head of NSA and CyberCom by President Barack Obama.
The makeup of the committees also played a role. While Senate armed services chairman John McCain of Arizona led off his questions of Coats by asking about Trump, the armed services subpanel was chaired by Rep. Elise Stefanik, a moderate Republican from New York who is on a separate panel — the House intelligence committee — which is already investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 elections. She asked about elevating CyberCom to a full combatant command and what steps are still needed to make that change happen.
Her panel includes two other Republicans, Reps. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio and Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, who are on the also on the intelligence committee, along with California Democrat Jackie Speier, who did not attend on Tuesday.
Democratic lawmakers also followed the lead of the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, who stayed focused on cyber issues, according to a House aide. Four Democrats questioned Rogers, while three more did not attend the subcommittee hearing.
“This was supposed to be a boring hearing,” said Rep. Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat. “That’s for other committees.”