President Trump called two top intelligence officials in March, NSA Director Michael Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, to ask them for help pushing back against the FBI’s collusion investigation. The Washington Post reports:
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.
Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.
Granted this is another report based on anonymous sources, but in this case, the sources say at least one of the two conversations was documented contemporaneously in a memo:
Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats.
The calls from Trump supposedly took place just a few days after FBI Director Comey first revealed the existence of an FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. So Trump was effectively asking his top intelligence officials to start a public battle with the FBI director over an ongoing investigation involving classified material. According to the story, Director Rogers tried to explain why he couldn’t do that.
The story goes on to say there were also calls from the White House asking for help in shutting down the investigation into Gen. Flynn. That’s something the President himself allegedly asked former FBI Director Comey to do during a private dinner.
The problem for President Trump is that all of this is beginning to look like a pattern. Remember that last week the NY Times reported Trump had placed a call directly to Director Comey asking him to help put out the word that Trump was not under investigation. If this story is true then Comey pushed back and told Trump to make requests through proper channels at the DOJ. The same story also said Comey wrote memos about all his contacts with Trump. So that would make at least two memos out there, waiting to be subpoenaed, that show the President making inappropriate calls for what amounts to political help.