Chris Ruddy, the founder of the conservative outlet Newsmax and a confidant of President Trump’s, told CNN that — based on what he’s been told by White House sources — he believes Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats could be fired for attacking the administration’s stance on North Korea.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats “played down on Saturday his seemingly astonished reaction this week to the news that President Trump planned to invite President Vladimir Putin of Russia to Washington,” the New York Times reports.
Said Coats: “My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president.”
“Diplomats and career officials have scrambled to understand what exactly transpired between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin during their private meeting on Monday in Helsinki, Finland, and Mr. Coats had seemed taken aback by the prospect of another one-on-one encounter. He said he planned to warn the president of the dangers of such a meeting — something he did not walk back in his statement.”
“They said the optics were especially damaging, noting that at moments Coats appeared to be laughing at the president, playing to his audience of the intellectual elite.”
Watch as Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, learned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited by the White House to visit the United States:
In the interview, Coats said that he felt he “needed to correct the record” following President Trump’s comments during the Helsinki news conference with Putin, adding that he wished Trump had “made a different statement” as it is “undeniable that the Russians are taking a lead on this.”
Sources close to Trump tell Jonathan Swan that they’re already speculating about whether Trump ends up firing Coats.
“The nation’s top intelligence officer said on Friday that the persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today was akin to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,” the New York Times reports.
Said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats: “The warning lights are blinking red again. Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Atlantic Council that Russia “is attempting to influence the midterm elections in the United States in November as well as divide the transatlantic alliance.”
Coats said Russia had already undertaken an “unprecedented influence campaign to interfere in the US electoral and political process” in 2016 and has also meddled in France, Germany, Norway, Spain, and Ukraine.
He added: “These Russian actions are purposeful and premeditated and they represent an all-out assault, by Vladimir Putin, on the rule of law, Western ideals and democratic norms.”
“Two of the nation’s top intelligence officials told Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and Senate investigators, in separate meetings last week, that President Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians,” CNN reports.
“Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers described their interactions with the President about the Russia investigation as odd and uncomfortable, but said they did not believe the President gave them orders to interfere, according to multiple sources familiar with their accounts.”
Dan Coats, the nation’s top intelligence official, told associates in March that President Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, the Washington Post reports.
“Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo… The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey’s handling of it… After the encounter, Coats discussed the conversation with other officials and decided that intervening with Comey as Trump had suggested would be inappropriate.”
The Fix: “But here’s why the latest news is particularly bad for Trump: It erases any idea that the Comey request was just a one-off. We have now learned that Comey isn’t the only top official whom Trump approached in an effort to free Flynn from his investigation.”
Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) is under consideration to be director of national intelligence, Politico reports.
“Coats, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, met with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday at Trump Tower. Speaking to reporters afterward, he was coy about his intentions.”
Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) told Indy Politics that he will not run for another term in the U.S. Senate.
“Coats said he deliberated for months before making his decision. He says he informed leadership today of his decision and will be making a formal announcement later.”