Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Top Spies Stonewall Congress About Their Talks With Trump on James Comey and Russia

ON TUESDAY, PRESIDENT Donald Trump said that he would not invoke executive privilege to keep the public from hearing the truth from James Comey about his reported attempts to sideline the FBI’s investigation into his Russia ties. On Wednesday, it became clear why he might not have to. Four of America’s top intelligence and law enforcement officials stonewalled the issue of Trump’s reported interference with the investigation, despite a series of probing and sometimes heated questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The reticence of the leaders of the National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the FBI to discuss Trump’s behavior with their congressional overseers raises a larger issue. When Congress asks America’s spymasters an unclassified question, are they obliged to answer?

Not necessarily, according to Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence. Coats declined to address several questions about whether Trump had asked him if he could intervene in the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s Russia ties, as reported in detail by the Washington Post.

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