Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Intelligence Chief Refuses to Say if Trump Sought Help Rebuffing FBI Probe

                                                          118 Politics 118
Melinda Barton | 06 June, 2017, 04:40

President Donald Trump asked two top United States intelligence officials in March to help push back against the FBI investigation into his campaign's possible links with Russia, The Washington Post has reported.

In recent days, news outlets have reported that Trump made separate appeals to Coats and to National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, urging them to rebut allegations that Russian Federation colluded with Trump campaign aides to help the real estate magnate win the White House.

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.

On May 19, Reuters reported that Trump denied asking Comey to drop the probe and decried a "witch hunt" against him.

In one of the latest examples of media outlets' guessing about Trump's talks with Lavrov is the claim that former FBI Director James Comey's dismissal had been discussed.

"I've made my position clear on that to this administration and I intend to maintain that position", Coats said.

Intelligence Chief Refuses to Say if Trump Sought Help Rebuffing FBI Probe

In addition to the requests to Coats and Rogers, senior White House officials 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's former national security adviser, according to people familiar with the matter.

One official who spoke with NBC News, however, painted Trump's appeals to Coats and Rogers as less insidious and more indicative of the president's ignorance about how the intelligence community works and the independence of the respective agencies and their heads.

In February, Trump asked several senior congressmen and intelligence officials to contact journalists and tell them there was no evidence to support the allegations of campaign links to Russian Federation.

McCain pushed again, asking him if thought leaks, like the one Trump may have committed on May 10, were unsafe and Coats conceded that they would be. Responding to a hypothetical follow-up, Coats added that "any political shaping of intelligence would be inappropriate".

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.

The Russia controversy continues unabated in Trump's absence with the daily dribble of new developments and revelations, some of which were contributed by the president himself, like when he confirmed Israel was the source of the classified information he shared with Russians officials. "It jeopardizes sources and methods that are invaluable to our ability to find out what's going on, what those threats are".