In his capacity as president, Donald Trump reportedly asked two high-ranking national intelligence officials in March to help him push back against the FBI investigation into possible connections between his presidential campaign and the Russian government.
Two current and two former intelligence officials spoke with the Washington Post on condition of anonymity, saying that Trump appealed separately to both the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, and urged them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
Coates and Rogers both deemed the requests to be inappropriate, and both refused to comply.
Trump reportedly made his requests after then-FBI Director James Comey told the White House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts,” the Post reports.
While Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented in an internal memo by a senior NSA official, it is unclear whether a similar memo was prepared to document Trump’s conversation with Coates, but officials told the Post that such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump attempted to impede the FBI investigation.
From the Post:
White House officials say Comey’s testimony about the scope of the FBI investigation upset Trump, who has dismissed the FBI and congressional investigations as a “witch hunt.” The president has repeatedly said there was no collusion.
Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump’s requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russia investigation.
A senior intelligence official said Trump’s goal was to “muddy the waters” about the scope of the FBI probe at a time when Democrats were ramping up their calls for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel, a step announced last week.
Senior intelligence officials also saw the March requests as a threat to the independence of U.S. spy agencies, which are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues.
These allegations only add to the growing pile of evidence that our current president should not be in office. We just watched the former sheriff of Los Angeles County get convicted and sentenced for obstructing a federal investigation into corruption in his jails. What is the penalty for obstruction of justice when you are president of the United States?
What is it going to take for the impeachment process to begin? How long will we have to sit back and watch more and more corruption unfold?
Read more at the Washington Post.