WASHINGTON: The Director of National Intelligence is restating the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election following a press conference where President Donald Trump openly questioned that conclusion.
Dan Coats said Monday that the US intelligence community’s role is to provide “the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the president and policymakers.”
He added: “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”
After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Trump said that he had “great confidence” in U.S. intelligence but that Putin’s denial of election meddling was “extremely strong and powerful.”
Sen. John McCain calls President Donald Trump’s press conference “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
The Arizona Republican says the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was “a tragic mistake.”
The senator says Trump proved not only unable, “but unwilling to stand up to Putin.” And he said Trump and Putin “seemed to be speaking from the same script” as Trump made a “conscious choice to defend a tyrant.”
McCain, who has been away from the Senate as he battles brain cancer, said the damage inflicted by Trump’s “naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate.”