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

Intel Chief: Leaks 'Jeopardize' Lives, Damage National Security


John McCain called reports that President Donald Trump asked top intelligence officials to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russian Federation "troubling" Tuesday, comparing the allegations to the plot of a "lousy movie".

As Flynn notified the Senate committee, members of key congressional committees are pledging a full public airing as to why former FBI Director James Comey was ousted amid an intensifying investigation into Russia's interference with the USA election.

"There have been so many lies, so many contradictions", Cummings said, adding that he expects parallel investigations from Congress to proceed fully after the Justice Department last week appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to head an investigation into possible Russian coordination with the Trump campaign.

Both the NSA and Coats' office declined comment to both NBC News and the Post. "We have not verified yet the connection", Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, told a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Brennan could shed light on concerns about the security risk posed by President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Both the Senate and the House intelligence committees are investigating Flynn and other Trump campaign associates as part of probes into Russia's election meddling.

The Times also reported on Friday that Trump boasted to Russian officials the day after he fired Comey that he terminated him because he "was insane, a real nut job" and he did so in order to ease the "great pressure because of Russia", which was now "taken off".

Lawmakers pledge full airing of why Comey was fired
The president's original dismissal letter to Comey indicated that he was being fired for his handling of the Clinton email probe. Lavrov denied that the subject of Comey came up during the meeting, according to Interfax news agency.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Intelligence Committee, said she plans to press Comey regarding what was discussed with Trump about Flynn and whether he was asked by Trump to alter the FBI investigation.

The White House told ABC News in response to the story that it "does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals. The President will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people".

The source says Mueller is likely going to want to talk to people involved in the House and Senate investigations to make sure that he has the lead on everything involved with this investigation.

Cummings cited a government report in March 2016 that he said showed the retired Army general telling authorities that payments he received for his 2015 trip to Moscow were paid by "U.S. companies".

In one memo, Comey wrote that Trump asked him to end the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While relations between Trump and Comey were strained by the Russian Federation probe, ties between the president and the other intelligence chiefs, including Rogers, Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, appear to be less contentious, the Post said officials said. Smith called Trump's actions "an appalling abuse of power".

Hours later, Rep. Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on the House oversight committee, said government documents he's reviewed showed inconsistencies in Flynn's disclosures to USA investigators in early 2016 during his security clearance review.

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