WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump is facing new questions about his involvement with investigations looking into possible ties between his presidential campaign and Russia.
New published reports say President Trump asked two top intelligence officials to publicly refute an FBI investigation into Russian interference, but the men refused to comply saying it would be inappropriate.
CBS News has confirmed a Washington Post report that the President asked Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, and NSA Director Mike Rogers to “publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion” as part of the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“On this topic, as well as other topics, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to characterize discussions or conversations with the president,” Coats testified before a Senate panel on Tuesday.
Democrats say this is more evidence that President Trump is interfering in the investigation.
“The White House seems to have little respect for the principles of rule of law,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, the House Intelligence Committee heard testimony from John Brennan, the former CIA Director who led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“There was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether US persons were actively conspiring or colluding with Russian officials,” Brennan told the panel.
Brennan was asked whether he saw evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the election.
While Brennan said, “I don’t know” whether there was collusion, he said he was “aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about” because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. He said it raised questions in his mind about whether Russia gained cooperation.
The former CIA director said that it became “clear” to him last summer that Russia was engaged in an aggressive and wide-ranging effort to interfere in the 2016 election. He said that experts from key agencies had access to information so they could understand the full scope, nature and intentions of the hackers.
Meanwhile, the much-anticipated hearing with fired FBI Director James Comey has been put on hold. He has requested to speak with Robert Mueller first. Mueller is the Special Counsel appointed to lead the criminal investigation into Russian collusion.
Mueller, a former FBI Director, met with bureau agents involved in the Russian probe shortly after taking over the investigation last week.