- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2018

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats reiterated Monday that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, hours after President Trump refused to back him up in that assessment.

“The role of the intelligence community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the president and policymakers,” Mr. Coats said in a statement. “We have 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.”

At a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday in Finland, Mr. Trump declined to support the view of his hand-picked intelligence chief.

“My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia,” Mr. Trump said. “I have President Putin [with him]; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia].”

On his flight home to face the growing furor over his comments, Mr. Trump tweeted from Air Force One later Monday: “As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.’ However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along! #HELSINKI2018.”

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