Intelligence Chief Refuses to Say if Trump Sought Help Rebuffing FBI Probe

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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.

Coats stated during his confirmation hearing in February that Russian Federation "definitely did try to influence campaign", a conclusion that was unanimously accepted by intelligence officials but one that could put him at odds with a White House that has consistently dismissed the idea.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Admiral Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

When Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the committee's chairman, asked Coats about the story, the former Republican senator from IN did not deny the report but said he didn't want to characterize or comment any private conversations with the president.

Forty-eight percent of those polled said they oppose Trump's decision to fire Comey compared to 37 percent who supported the president's decision while 15 percent remain unsure.

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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 USA presidential election.

Buoyed by the general mood against the chaos in the current White House, political analysts on prime time television are saying it's a mistake to frame the Trump-Russia links in the "narrow category of collusion" because it is "far more dangerous" than a one-on-one plan that was hatched to win an election. While he said he was unsure if "collusion existed", he noted that the interactions were substantial enough to warrant an investigation, adding: "It raised questions in my mind about whether Russian Federation was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals".

Mr Comey reportedly wrote a memo following a meeting with the president on 14 February that revealed Mr Trump asked him to close an investigation into Mr Flynn's actions. Trump's unabashed attempts to thwart the FBI would precisely echo Watergate, in which President Richard Nixon's instructions to the Central Intelligence Agency to interfere with the FBI investigation proved to be his downfall.

Rosenstein is the top official at the Justice Department responsible for overseeing the investigation after Jeff Sessions, Trump's attorney general, recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

"The President will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people", the spokesperson said.