Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump Asked Intel Chiefs to Push Back Against FBI Russia Probe

Trump Asked Intel Chiefs to Push Back Against FBI Russia Probe

President Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Both refused to comply as they deemed the requests to be inappropriate, said several officials, speaking anonymously.

The Senate Judiciary Committee demanded the records earlier this month after revelations Comey documented his telephone calls and meetings with the president in highly detailed memos - including a February dinner meeting in which Trump allegedly pressed Comey to shut down the FBI's inquiry into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Citing three current and former American officials, the Times said US intelligence officials collected information last summer showing Russians zeroed in on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, a former head of USA military intelligence who was a key Trump campaign adviser. "I have made my position clear on that to this administration and I intend to maintain that position".

Berman said Mueller "had no role whatsoever in the representation of any client in connection with the Russian Federation inquiry, and he has no confidential information with respect to such matters", the spokesman told NPR last week.

His biggest problem stems from his repeated efforts to persuade senior politicians, justice and intelligence officials to help push back against the probe, and his firing of James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director on May 9.

Coats did not deny the report but said he didn't want to characterize or comment any private conversations with the president.

Brennan's testimony is the first time he publicly commented on concerns about the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, though he declined to name or describe the role of the Trump associates.

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In addition to the fatalities, another 64 people were wounded, several of whom remain hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. It will not be lowered until security services are convinced there is no active plot in place, she said.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department declined to say the regulations apply to the "matters to which Special Counsel Mueller was appointed", but nevertheless concluded Mueller's appointment to lead the Russian Federation probe is valid. Trump has repeatedly denied that he did anything improper and has said that he has been told he is not under investigation.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

In the meantime, the two key panels in Congress investigating the Russian Federation affair, the House and Senate intelligence committees, continue to collect their own data.

In response to that effort, intelligence officials-including Comey, director of national intelligence Daniel Coats, and director of the National Security Agency Adm. Michael Rogers-are diligently and loudly ringing alarm bells for all of us to hear.

"What I was very concerned about, though, is the subsequent releases of what appears to be classified information purporting to point to the originator of the information, liaison partners", Brennan said.

Coats deflected, saying he was not in the room for the discussion.

The White House had no immediate comment on Kasowitz's hiring.

Coats also admitted that he "can't specifically describe" the process by which the intelligence community determines what intelligence can be shared with a foreign government. Others thought they could use Manafort's association with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who led a pro-Russian political party, to their advantage, the Times reported.

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