Earlier this Spring, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey after the latter reportedly refused to back off of an ongoing investigation into the president’s ties to Russia. He then reportedly told people that the firing eased “great pressure” on him but denied that he ever explicitly asked for Comey to end an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Now, only a few days before James Comey is set to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, another potential bombshell is dropping the ongoing Russia probe.
According to a new report from The Washington Post, the country’s top intelligence official, Daniel Coats, allegedly told friends that Trump directly approached him and asked him to interfere with the investigation. The latest news alleges that Coats and CIA Director Michael Pompeo met with Trump in late March and listened to him complain about both Comey and the ongoing investigation before he asked them to “get the Bureau to back off.”
Coats reportedly then communicated the details of this meeting to others in the intelligence community, ultimately deciding that to acquiesce to such a request would be inappropriate. Coats will testify before Comey, with his call to the stand coming a day before the former FBI Director’s, on Wednesday. Trump reportedly considered using Executive Privilege to block Comey’s testimony completely but will not take that route. The Post reports that Coats will be pressed to reveal any information he has in regards to conversations he had with Trump about blocking or impeding the investigation.
In addition to the supposed meeting at the end of March, a phone call shortly afterward reportedly took place in which Trump asked Coats “to issue a public statement denying the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.” A representative for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not confirm whether any of the reported conversations occurred. A spokesman for Coats said:
“Director Coats does not discuss his private conversations with the President. However, he has never felt pressured by the President or anyone else in the Administration to influence any intelligence matters or ongoing investigations.”
Coats says he “certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don’t know” during his testimony and has previously indicated he would fully cooperate with the Russia investigation as it gained steam. This report certainly puts Trump Tweet Watch on high alert for this section of testimony.
(Via The Washington Post)