It looks like former FBI Director James Comey wasn’t the only top official to say no to Trump.
President Trump asked the heads of the DNI and NSA in March to deny any evidence of collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
Unfortunately for him, Trump’s pleas didn’t go over so well. The Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and the head of the NSA, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, both refused.
According to a report from The Washington Post, Trump spoke separately with the two directors in March. This was after former FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI was investigating any links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
These revelations, while not surprising, make the president and his campaign look even more guilty than they appear. After all, the president essentially asked Coats and Adm. Rogers to lie for him, if necessary.
Trump’s treatment of Comey already raised questions about whether he abused his powers in firing the former FBI director. Trump and the White House initially blamed two memos recommending Comey’s dismissal. However, the president later acknowledged it was because of the FBI’s Russia probe.
Comey revealed that Trump called him to the White House for a private dinner. During that dinner, the president asked for Comey’s loyalty regarding the investigation. The situation was apparently similar for the directors of the DNI and NSA. According to the officials, Trump spoke with them separately to ask that they deny publicly any evidence of collusion.
Both Coats and Adm. Rogers were uncomfortable with the request and refused to agree. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, spoke out about the latest report. He called it “yet another disturbing allegation that the President was interfering with the RBI probe.” Schiff added:
If further reports are accurate the White House staff also ptried to pursuade personnel at these agencies to help get FBI Director Comey to back off an investigation involving (former national security advisor) Michael Flynn, the specter of possible obstruction has grown larger and more troubling.”
A record of Trump’s request was recorded in a memo from a senior NSA official. That memo, along with any other memos from the DNI’s office, will be available to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading an investigation into the claims.
If anything, the latest report bolsters evidence that Trump tried to undermine Comey before firing him May 9. We have to wonder whether these directors are next on Trump’s “You’re Fired” list.
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