May 22, 2017

After failing in his efforts to deter then-FBI Director James Comey from dropping the investigation into possible collusion with Russia, Trump shopped around for someone else in the national security leadership structure to put the brakes on the investigation, according to a report by the Washington Post.

To that end, the report claims that Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Fortunately for the country, both declined, deeming the requests to be inappropriate.

The conversation with Rogers was documented in a contemporaneous memo, but it's unclear whether a similar memo exists with respect to Coats. The conversations occurred immediately after James Comey testified before Congress on March 20th that an investigation into possible collusion did indeed exist.

Here's the kicker: They declined to cede to Trump's request because to do so would have been false.

Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump’s requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russia investigation.

A senior intelligence official said that Trump’s goal was to “muddy the waters” about the scope of the FBI probe at a time when Democrats were ramping up their calls for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel, a step announced last week.

Senior intelligence officials also saw the March requests as a threat to the independence of U.S. spy agencies, which are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues.

“The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said of the request to Coats.

Basically CEO Trump ordered lifelong public servants to fix the PR mess, to lie, cheat and steal in order to do so, because it was a thorn in his side. This seems to be a textbook effort to obstruct and impede justice, doesn't it?

Update:

Historian Kevin Kruse notes parallels.

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