Pres. Trump 'asked' intelligence officials to deny existence of Russian Probe
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 06, 2017,
Jun 06, 2017, 21:09
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".
Questions about Mueller's appointment were raised last week in light of the fact that his former law firm, WilmerHale, reportedly represents President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, as well as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
CNN reported in February that the White House had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to push back against stories in the press about potential coordination between Trump associates and Russian Federation.
Both Coats and Rogers are scheduled to appear before Congress this week, but not before either the House or Senate intelligence committees, which have separate investigations into Russian meddling in the election.
Trump fired Comey, who was leading a separate Justice Department investigation on Russian Federation, on May 9.
How this differs from what the Trump team asked of top intelligence officials is hard to discern.
One week later, multiple news outlets reported that Trump had asked Comey during a private meeting on February 14 to stop the investigation of Flynn, whom Trump had fired the day before.
Mr Trump's conversation with Adm Rogers was documented in an internal memo by a senior NSA official, according to the officials.
"I hope you can let this go", the president said to Comey, according to notes Comey reportedly wrote soon after the meeting. It's a pretty good analogy, and one that seems to support the Post's decision to put Trump's clumsy PR maneuvers in the first paragraph of its story.
Americans who said they voted for Trump in 2016 are also taking a growing shine to Russia: Half of those voters said in the most recent poll that they view Russia as friendly or an ally, compared with 39 percent from March.
Brennan said he "encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and USA persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals".
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency director Michael Rogers refused to comply with Trump's requests because they believed them inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, the Post said.
Coats, meanwhile, condemned all leaks of classified information, without specifically addressing reports that Trump divulged highly classified information on Islamic State group threats to visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov two weeks ago.