Trump asked intelligence officials to deny collusion with Russia, report says
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 9:13
That's in large part because the law requires the defendant to have acted "corruptly", a reference to the person having provable criminal intent.Then, on Tuesday, The New York Times then published an explosive report that Trump asked Comey in February to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had resigned the day before.
The Washington Post first reported that the president made "separate appeals" urging both Rogers and Coats to "publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election".
According to officials, both Coats and Rogers refused to cooperate with Trump's request.
FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers testify before Congress about Russia's election meddling on March 20, 2017.
The Post story said a record of Trump's request to Rogers was in a memo from a senior NSA official - and that memo, as well as any that may be from the DNI's office, would be available to former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed last week to head the Justice Department's investigation. It is not known if there was a memo or notes written pertaining to Trump's meeting with Coats.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and railed against the investigations into his campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation repeatedly.
In a response to CNN, a White House spokesperson, who declined to be identified by name, said: "The White House does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals".
Rep. Darrell Issa, a member of the House Oversight Committee which is conducting its own probe in to the matter, said he understood the FBI's investigation would be wide in its scope and include a review of a timeline of Comey's firing and Rosenstein's role in that. "The President will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people". We just watched the former sheriff of Los Angeles County get convicted and sentenced for obstructing a federal investigation into corruption in his jails.
Officials within the White House, with regular direct access to the president, have followed orders to tamp down the Russian Federation investigation.
Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump's requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russian Federation investigation.
While relations between Trump and Comey were strained by the Russian Federation probe, ties between the president and the other intelligence chiefs, including Rogers, Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, appear to be less contentious, according to officials. "With so many Trump administration officials potentially tangled up in this investigation and lawyering up all over Washington, such a recusal rule could make it extremely hard for the special prosecutor to hire a staff".
Ultimately, Trump chose to nominate Coats, rather than Rogers.
In an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, Trump himself admitted he fired Comey from the FBI with the Russian Federation investigation on his mind. Trump reportedly asked Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen.