Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Saturday sought to clarify critical remarks he made this week about President Donald Trump inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the White House this fall.
Coats also revealed in the interview with Mitchell that he was unaware of what transpired in the private meeting between President Trump and Putin in Helsinki, and restated without equivocation his belief that Russia continues to pose a threat to the American electoral system.
Coats, who oversees the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, also said that if he had been asked, he would have advised President Trump against meeting Putin alone, with just interpreters.
Walking back his statements about President Trump, Coats said they were not intended to be critical of the decision to invite Putin to a meeting in Washington later this year.
“Some press coverage has mischaracterized my intentions in responding to breaking news presented to me during a live interview,” Coats said.