Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Donald Trump asked intelligence directors to deny proof of collusion with Russians


The nation's intelligence director says he won't comment on a news report that President Donald Trump asked him to publicly deny any collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation.

Neither of the directors went ahead with the request because they felt it was inappropriate, two current and two former officials told the Post. One intelligence official described the requests as an attempt to "muddy the waters", as it would have created a situation in which various intelligence agencies were contradicting each other.

The Trump administration has been engulfed in controversy over the last two weeks, after he made the decision to fire Comey.

The president asked Rogers and Coats to push back on the idea that his campaign had colluded with Russian Federation shortly after then-FBI Director James Comey announced in March that the FBI was investigating the matter.

The revelations, first reported by The Washington Post, deepen the intrigue over alleged links between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. They would serve separately from the White House Counsel's Office.

If there appears to be an obstruction of justice case, Comey will likely be interviewed by Mueller as a witness.

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On the eve of the election, Weaver wouldn't discuss where he would throw his support if no party wins a majority of seats. Absentee ballots (176,104 provincewide) won't be counted until at least May 22, according to Elections B.C.

The "entire landscape of Trump's behavior" is what would prompt an obstruction of justice charge, said Jens David Ohlin, an associate dean at Cornell Law School and an expert on criminal law.

Donald Trump asked Rogers if he could publicly state that there was no evidence of collusion, the Washington Post reported on Monday in the latest revelation in the unfolding scandals surrounding Trump.

An obstruction of justice charge, however, also requires proof of corrupt intent, which is hard to pin down, according to Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer for the NSA and Central Intelligence Agency. He added that if Trump or other White House officials were going to ask anyone to push back on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it would be him - but, as of Monday evening, such a request had not been made.

The officials, DNI Dan Coats and Adm. Mike Rogers, were sufficiently concerned about the requests that one of them wrote a memo about it, the former official told NBC News. He personally asked the NSA director and the overall director of national intelligence to publicly weigh in on an ongoing investigation.

Questions about Mueller's appointment were raised last week in light of the fact that his former law firm, WilmerHale, represents President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who both work in the White House, as well as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

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