Split Between Democrats And Rest Of Country On Trump-Russia Narrative
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 10:45
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russian Federation, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) asked Coats if he discussed with National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers - who was also reported by the Washington Post to have received a request from Trump to push back on the Russian Federation probe - efforts by Trump to "stifle" the investigation.
Coats and Rogers declined to comply with the President's requests "which they both deemed to be inappropriate".
It was unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump's conversation with Coats. And while Trump's attempts to get credible people to publicly vouch for him certainly adds to the case for obstruction, it's a secondary data point, and one that follows reporting from February about the White House asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to "knock down" reports of possible wrongdoing by members of the Trump team. "Any political shaping of that intelligence would not be appropriate", he said. "I was in Europe and he was in the White House", Coats replied, fidgeting with a pen on the desk before him. Accusations levied against the administration over its dealing with the investigation into the alleged Russian influence on the election, and into Russia's relationship with several key current and former members of Trump's cabinet, have damaged the Greenback and have helped gold.
He noted that the new report is only the latest revelation in what has now been more than a week of bombshell news related to the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. One official told the Post that the line of questioning from the White House amounted to, "Can we ask him to shut down the investigation?"
Trump made his appeal to Coats days after Comey's testimony, according to officials.
Lawyers Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, who advised then-Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama on ethics issues, respectively, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last week that preventing Mueller's appointment based on his prior law firm's clients wouldn't hold up.
In his call with Rogers, Trump urged the NSA director to speak out publicly if there was no evidence of collusion, according to officials briefed on the exchange.
As a senator, Coats served on the Senate intelligence and armed services committees.
Rogers met with Trump in NY shortly after the election, and Trump's advisers at the time held him out as the leading candidate to be the next director of national intelligence.