Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief John Brennan said in a congressional hearing on Tuesday he never received requests from the US president to end any existing investigations.
In response to a question what he would do, if the president tells him to halt an ongoing investigation, Brennan stated: “I have never been asked that and, if I was, I certainly would not follow such a directive.”
The question comes after US media claimed that President Donald Trump told former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey to close a probe into ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties with Russia.
Media outlets also claimed on Monday that Trump approached two US intelligence officials suggesting that they should push back on the evidence of his campaign’s collusion with Russia.
Brennan did not characterize Trump’s alleged actions as possible obstruction of justice. The former official explained he had no legal basis to “determine what constitutes the obstruction of justice.”
The White House has refuted the media allegations and stressed that the Trump administration has never had connections with Moscow. Trump argued that the current investigation would ultimately prove that no collusion has occurred during the 2016 presidential election. Russia has called the US allegations absurd and intended to deflect public opinion from pressing domestic concerns.
Brennan also said that he did not request the “unmasking” of any US government officials’ names during his last day on the job.
“I definitely know on the last day I was employed I definitely did not make such a request,” Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee.
Brennan said he did not recall any requests to reveal the names of US citizens in intelligence reports that would have been elevated to his level of authority during his tenure at the CIA.
The former official noted that a decision to unmask such a name would have been made at a lower level within the agency. Furthermore, Brennan added he was not aware of any unmasking requests within the intelligence community that have been denied.
On April 3, media reports suggested that Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice asked US intelligence agencies to unmask the names of President Donald Trump’s associates that were added to reports during surveillance of the presidential transition team. Rice has previously denied accusations that she was trying to politicize intelligence, and said she issued requests to unmask names in intelligence reports for work purposes.