Pres. Trump 'asked' intelligence officials to deny existence of Russian Probe

Cheryl Sanders
May 24, 2017

Both Coats and Rogers were uncomfortable with the nature of the President's request and refused to comply, sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

"I made clear in my confirmation hearing for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, my role and the role of the director of national intelligence is to provide intelligence information relevant to policy makers so they can base their judgments on that", Coats said. Mueller can prosecute anyone who lies to him.

Mueller can issue subpoenas and can decide to inform members of the administration about the investigation's progress - authority not granted to a US attorney under the Justice Department's chain of command.

These actions by the President are seen as an attempt to influence the FBI investigation, some intelligence officials see the request as a threat to non-partisan independent security agencies.

Trump pressured Comey to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who on Monday invoked his fifth amendment rights rather than appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Reports say that the White House has however denied the allegation.

If true, this would constitute investigative interference by Trump, which some political pundits say meets the criteria for obstruction of justice by a sitting president.

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. In the United Kingdom, bookmakers have been taking bets on a Trump impeachment, with the betting exchange Betfair giving a 55 percent probability that the president would not finish his first term, according to Market Watch.

The Washington Post broke the story, which is said was based on interviews with several current and former USA officials who spoke to the newspaper on background.

Ultimately, Trump chose to nominate Coats, rather than Rogers. On another front, there were questions about whether he would be fired as director of the National Security Agency by then-President Barack Obama. Kushner is now a White House adviser.

Several congressional panels are also investigating Russian meddling in the election, including hacking into the computer of Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign chief, John Podesta, and the subsequent release of thousands of his emails by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks that showed embarrassing behind-the-scenes efforts by Democratic operatives to help Clinton win the party's presidential nomination.

In December, Trump's congressional allies falsely claimed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not concur with a Central Intelligence Agency assessment that Russian Federation intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win the White House. The source says Comey likely will be limited in what he can say now that the Russian Federation probe is in the hands of Mueller.

Other reports by iNewsToday