In another stunning revelation, Two of the nation’s top intelligence officials told Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and Senate investigators, in separate meetings last week, that President Donald Trump pressured them to say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians, CNN reports.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers described their interactions with the President about the Russia investigation as odd and uncomfortable, according to multiple sources familiar with their accounts.
Both men told Mueller’s team they were surprised the President would suggest that they publicly declare he was not involved in collusion, sources said. Mueller’s team, which is in the early stages of its investigation, will ultimately decide whether the interactions are relevant to the inquiry.
Trump also wanted them to say publicly what then-FBI Director James Comey had told the President privately: that he was not under investigation for collusion.
Sources told the News Network that both men went further than they did on June 7 public hearings before the Senate intelligence committee when they provided little detail about the interactions. During that hearing senators in both parties grew frustrated and angry after neither would agree to clear up exactly what the President said to them.
Because the meetings were classified, they shared limited details. But the sources said the two intelligence leaders recounted conversations that appeared to show the President’s deep frustration that the Russia allegations have continued to cloud his administration.
Citing one congressional source, CNN reports that the reason for their public reticence is that Coats and Rogers had asked the White House for guidance on whether their conversations with the President were protected by executive privilege, which meant they would not be allowed to discuss it. The result was an awkward and contentious public hearing.
But with every day that passes new information points to a collusion between the Trump team and the Russian government to tilt the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.