DOJ: No ethics conflict for special counsel in Russia probe

Trump asked intelligence officials to deny evidence of Russia collusion

Alex Wong Getty Images Dan Coats Michael Rogers

During testimony before Congress Tuesday morning Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats refused to address - but he did not deny - reports that President Trump asked him and another top intel official to push back against allegations the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

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

According to the Post, an internal NSA memo written by a "senior NSA official" documented Trump's request at the time he made it. "The President will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people".

Brennan said he is "aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and USA persons involved in the Trump campaign".

Coats spoke at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Soon after the Comey firing, the NYT and Washington Post broke big stories on how Trump asked Comey to let it ( the investigation) go, paving the way for the entire media establishment to find every leaky vessel in the current administration.

Despite the Post's sourcing, its report did not provide documented evidence of Trump's requests.

Citing three current and former American officials, the Times said USA intelligence officials collected information last summer showing Russians zeroed in on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, a former head of US military intelligence who was a key Trump campaign adviser. He said that he would cooperate with the Russian Federation probe, now being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and said if asked he would provide Mueller with the nature of conversations shared with Trump.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee, took to Twitter shortly after news of the Coats and Rogers leak broke. Director Coats, a former U.S. Senator, Congressman, and Ambassador, was asked by fellow Republican, senator John McCain, if the report were true.

Coats also declined Tuesday to say whether he and Rogers discussed reports of possible efforts by Trump to stifle federal investigations into Russian interference in last year's US presidential election. Trump urged them to rebut claims that Russian Federation coordinated its effort with Trump campaign aides to help the real-estate-magnate-turned-Republican-politician win the White House.

The Post reported that Trump made the request of Coats and Rogers after then-FBI Director James Comey disclosed in Congressional testimony on March 20 that the FBI was investigating possible ties between his presidential campaign and the Russian government. Ostensibly, when Trump's one-on-ones with Comey failed to stem the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry, Trump officials tried to influence the agency by other means.

After declining to discuss his conversations with Trump, Coats turned his attention to leaks from the intelligence community.

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