Intel director won't detail Trump conversation

John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked about the accuracy of Post's report that Trump had asked Coats and NSA director Michael Rogers to "publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election".

Multiple sources tell The Washington Post that James Comey's March testimony before the House Intelligence Committee prompted President Donald Trump to ask two senior intelligence officials to shut down the probe into possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

Both officials turned down Trump's requests in March for a public denial, according to the Washington Post, which based its reports on information from unnamed current and former officials.

President Donald Trump asked senior intelligence chiefs to deny any evidence of collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and the Russians, according to published reports. An N.S.A. official documented Roger's conversation with Trump in an internal agency memo, but it is unclear whether Coats's interaction with the president was similarly recorded.

But the Post story also contained this tidbit: in addition to the calls made by Trump to Coats and Rogers, White House officials allegedly "sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the Federal Bureau of Investigation to drop its probe of Michael Flynn". Trump abruptly fired Comey weeks later.

Trump, according to his own retelling, asked Comey three times - twice on the phone and once in person - whether he was under investigation in the Russian Federation case.

Vice President Mike Pence delivers his commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame May 21Twitter  Notre Dame
Vice President Mike Pence delivers his commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame May 21Twitter Notre Dame

The firm also represents Ivanka Trump, who required representation as she sorted through stepping away from her beauty and fashion line to take a job as an unpaid advisor to her father in the White House.

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI.

Trump fired Comey, who was leading a separate Justice Department investigation on Russian Federation, on May 9. The account was first reported in The Washington Post.

The president knew full well that Michael Flynn was under investigation, possibly criminal investigation, for sharing information with the Russians.

"I might mention that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Manchester", Coats said. While he said he was unsure if "collusion existed", he noted that the interactions were substantial enough to warrant an investigation, adding: "It raised questions in my mind about whether Russian Federation was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals".

The former official told NBC News that Coats and Rogers did not believe they were being asked to do something illegal. Coats paused for several seconds before saying, "That is something that I would like to withhold, that question at this particular point in time".

  • Larry Hoffman