The Department of Justice announced Tuesday it has determined that former FBI Director Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is compliant with ethics rules.
Last week, The New York Times reported that Trump explicitly asked Comey, then the director of the F.B.I., to shutter his agency's investigation into Mike Flynn, the former national security adviser who resigned amid scandal in February.
Donald Trump's intelligence chief declined to comment Tuesday on media reports that the president pressured him to publicly deny that evidence existed of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation to influence the 2016 US presidential race.
Coats told Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., he would share details of his conversation with the president if he is asked to testify by the House or Senate intelligence committees, both of which are investigating Russia's election hacking and whether the Trump campaign colluded in that effort. A majority vote in the House and a two-thirds vote in the Senate are required to remove the president.The latest report was met with expressions of astonishment on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties promised to obtain the memos by subpoena and to press for answers on whether the president tried to obstruct the investigation.
The White House told ABC News in response to the story that it "does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals".
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Comey revealed in a hearing before the House intelligence committee on March 20 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking for any links between Trump campaign aides and Russian Federation and whether there was coordination between the two sides. Director Coats, a former U.S. Senator, Congressman, and Ambassador, was asked by fellow Republican, senator John McCain, if the report were true. Coats and Rogers turned down his requests saying they were inappropriate, according to the report.
According to notes kept by Comey, Trump first asked for his loyalty at a dinner in January and then, at a meeting the next month, asked him to drop the probe into Flynn. This may cause some logistical problems in terms of Comey's impending congressional testimony surrounding his firing by Trump, with Congress indicating that they plan on working with Mueller to try to smooth out any potential complications.
The White House offered no comment on the reported calls Trump made to Coats and Rogers.
When Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the committee's chairman, asked Coats about the story, the former Republican senator from IN did not deny the report but said he didn't want to characterize or comment any private conversations with the president.