- Associated Press - Thursday, July 19, 2018

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) - The Latest on National Intelligence Director Dan Coats (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats was surprised to learn Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been invited to the White House this fall.

A moderator at the Aspen Security Forum, where Coats was speaking in Colorado, broke into their conversation to describe the invitation.

“Say that again,” Coats said, cupping his ear.

He took a deep breath and continued, “OK.”

Then he smiled and said, “That’s going to be special.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that President Donald Trump has asked national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to Washington in the fall.

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2:25 p.m.

Director of National IntelligenceDan Coats says only time will tell if North Korea will be willing to give up its nuclear weapons.

He says the U.S. should not assume denculearization will happen and says “trust and verify” should be America’s mantra.

National Security Adviser John Bolton has suggested that North Korea could denuclearize in a year.

Coats said Thursday it is “technically possible” but “probably won’t happen.”

He notes that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has projected a longer time frame.

Coats says North Korean exports have declined dramatically, putting economic pressure on leader Kim Jong Un. Coats says the U.S. should try to negotiate with him.

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2 p.m.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats says he wishes President Donald Trump had made different statements in Helsinki, where he appeared to give credence to Russia’s denial of interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

But Coats says he was just doing his job when he quickly issued a statement Monday to rebut Trump’s comments, which were made while standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Coats is restating the U.S. intelligence assessment about Russian meddling and Moscow’s “ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

He says he thought it was important to express support for the intelligence professionals he represents and he was happy Trump worked to clarify his statement.

Coats spoke Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

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9 a.m.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats‘ drumbeat of criticism against Russia is clashing loudly with President Donald Trump’s pro-Kremlin remarks.

Trump’s remarks after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, where he appeared to deny the longtime U.S. foe was still targeting American elections, are just the latest in a growing list of statements that conflict with Coats‘. His job is to share the work of the 17 intelligence agencies he oversees with the president.

Coats was banned from traveling to Russia in 2014 for calling out its annexation of Crimea, and he has continued to raise the alarm on Russia since his appointment by Trump as intelligence chief in March 2017.

That’s left Coats in a tight spot.


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