Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stated that he was “just doing [his] job” when he issued a statement supporting the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
President Trump recently cast doubt on the intelligence community’s assessment of the alleged Russian interference after a controversial summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.
After Trump’s summit with Putin, Coats issued a statement declaring the intelligence community has been “clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”
“I was just doing my job,” Coats said Thursday at the Aspen Security Summit. “I just felt at this point in time what we had assessed and reassessed and reassessed and carefully gone over still stands and that it was important to take that stand on behalf of the intelligence community and on behalf of the America people.”
While Coats declared Russia to be the most “aggressive state actor attempting to interfere in U.S. affairs, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Mr. Trump has asked national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to the White House this fall, according to CBS News.
Coats also mentioned that he doesn’t know what happened in the conference between Trump and Putin, but he feels that Trump will continue to share details publicly so that the public may learn more about what happened at the summit.
“That is the president’s prerogative. If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted I would have suggested a different way, but that’s not my role, that’s not my job,” Coats said.
Coats also stated that he would not have advised Trump to handle the meeting the way that he did, and wasn’t made aware of a meeting between then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office, stating that the meeting was “probably not the best thing to do.”
This is a developing story. Heavy will continue to update.