- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the nation’s top spy chief says he is strong enough to stand up to any political interference from those seeking intelligence to back national security policy decisions.

If confirmed, former GOP Sen. Dan Coats would sit squarely between the nation’s intelligence workers and President Donald Trump, who has disparaged them for past failures and their assessment that the Kremlin interfered in the election in the president’s favor.

The Senate intelligence committee’s investigation into Russian activities, however, did not take center stage at Tuesday’s confirmation hearing.

While some senators asked Coats to pledge to provide intelligence to the panel so it can investigate, others asked about harsh interrogation techniques, government surveillance and whether he thinks his voice will be heard at the White House.

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