Trump's national security chief resigned after the White House repeatedly suppressed his warnings about Russian interference, New York Times reports
- Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in recent months saw his warnings about threats posed by Russia watered down by the White House, The New York Times reported.
- According to the Times, a dossier by Coats on Russian interference in the 2018 mid-terms was altered by the White House to contain less critical language.
- Coats' resignation was announced in a tweet by Trump Sunday, who wants a loyalist, Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe, to replace him.
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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats repeatedly found his warnings about the threat posed by Russia suppressed by the White House, The New York Times reported in the wake of his resignation from the post.
According to the Times, Coats has often found himself at odds with President Trump over Russia, a situation which worsened in recent months.Coats saw Russia as an adversary to the US, the Times wrote, and pushed for closer cooperation with European countries to counter it, but the White House did not agree.
Several times Coats saw his language on the Kremlin's activities watered down by the White House, according to the Times.
A secret report by Coats on Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2018 mid-terms by spreading disinformation was reportedly altered by the White House. A public statement on Coat's conclusions contained less critical language than the original, the Times said.
A former senior intelligence official told the Washington Post that Coats felt marginalized on national security issues by the president, and had come to see his departure as inevitable.
According to reports, Trump had been discussing replacing Coats for months.
Trump has long faced scrutiny for his warm comments on Russia, and his changing positions on whether Russia interfered to help him secure his 2016 election victory.Former special counsel Rober Mueller found that there was insufficient evidence to charge the president and his aides with deliberately conspiring with Russia in 2016.
Trump in a tweet Sunday announced that Coats would step down in mid-August, and nominated Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe as his replacement.
In his tweet, he thanked Coats for his service but offered him no praise.
"The intelligence community is stronger than ever and increasingly well prepared to meet new challenges and opportunities," wrote Coats in his resignation letter, citing the recent appointment of an official charged with countering foreign election interference.
During his time as national security director, Coats had publicly contradicted Trump on his claims regarding Russia and North Korea.
In a statement released after Trump's controversial summit in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin in July 2018, Coats rebutted the president's apparent acceptance of Putin's claim that Russia had not interfered in the 2016 election.
At a national security conference in Colorado last year, Coats reacted with incredulity when told that Trump had invited Putin to the White House at the summit.
"That's going to be special," he remarked.And in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in January, Coats contradicted Trump's claims that North Korea no longer posed a threat because of his summits with its leader, Kim Jong Un.
Coats told lawmakers that North Korea "was unlikely to give up" its nuclear weapons. He also contradicted Trump's claim that Iran was seeking to gear up its nuclear program.
In contrast to Coats, Rep. Ratcliffe is a Trump loyalist who has backed Trump's claims that Mueller 's probe into Russian interference was a partisan plot to unseat Trump.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, he said: "the Mueller report and its conclusions weren't from Robert Mueller. They were written by what a lot of people believe was Hillary Clinton's de facto legal team."
I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence. A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves. Dan Coats, the current Director, will....- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2019
....be leaving office on August 15th. I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country. The Acting Director will be named shortly.- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2019
1 year ago this month, Dan Coats released this statement, contradicting Trump who held a joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki. Trump said he didn't see any reason why" Russia would be responsible for interfering in the 2016 election.- Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) July 28, 2019
Then Coats issued this statement. pic.twitter.com/auz17eWEZR