Intel chief: Don't know what happened in Trump-Putin meeting

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said he didn't know what was said in the meeting with Russian President Vladmir Putin and President Trump in Helsinki, saying "-- I don't know what happened in that meeting. I think as time goes by and the president has already mentioned some of the things that happened in that meeting, I think we will learn more.

Posted: Jul. 20, 2018 9:19 AM
Updated: Jul. 20, 2018 9:26 AM

Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats said he doesn't know what was said in the one-on-one meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

He also stated that he needed to "correct the record" when he put out a statement reasserting the intelligence community's assessment that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election after Trump had earlier expressed doubts about that finding in a joint press conference with Putin.

Coats said, "I don't know what happened in that meeting. I think as time goes by and the President has already mentioned some of the things that happened in that meeting, I think we will learn more. But that is the President's prerogative. If he had asked me how that should be conducted I would have suggested a different way, but that's not my role, that's not my job. So it is what it is."

Coats also said that Trump didn't ask him for advice before his meeting with Putin, "If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted I would have suggested a different way, but that's not my role, that's not my job."

On his statement on Russian interference, the nation's top spy said he felt he "needed to correct the record for that and this is the job I signed up for and that was my responsibility. Obviously, I wish he made a different statement, but now I think that has been clarified based on his late reactions to this and so I don't think I want to go any further than that."

"I just felt at this point in time that what we had assessed and reassessed and reassessed and carefully gone over still stands and that it was important to take that stand on behalf of the intelligence community and on behalf of the American people," Coats added.

He made clear he had no doubt about the Russian President's role in Russian's interference efforts. "I think anybody who thinks that Vladimir Putin doesn't have his stamp on everything that happens in Russia is misinformed," he said.

Coats made the remarks at the Aspen Security Forum.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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