Apparently, when then-FBI Director James Comey failed to comply with President Trump’s request to “drop” the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s communication with Russia, Trump turned to the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency Director for similar favors.
In separate appeals, Trump asked them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
The President’s treatment of Comey has raised questions about whether he abused his powers by seeking to discredit the FBI investigation or risked giving the impression that he was obstructing justice, a debate now given new life by the latest revelations.
Trump spoke to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers after Comey revealed in March that the bureau had launched a probe into alleged collusion. Both Coats and Rogers were uncomfortable with the nature of the President’s request and refused to comply, the sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
Coats declined to comment during a Senate armed services committee hearing Tuesday, that had been previously scheduled.
The White House declined to comment on the details of Trump’s contacts with Rogers and Coats.
The revelations deepen the intrigue over alleged links between Trump’s campaign and Russia, and follow the President’s firing of Comey and subsequent statement he sacked him because of the Russia probe.
After the first story regarding Trump and Comey, you could almost buy into a “well, he’s new with governmental politics.” “He’s a little naive about how these things work.”
But bouncing from Comey to Coats to Rogers, clearly Trump knew he was asking something far outside normal protocol.