Russian Federation probe looms over Coats' bid to become national intelligence director

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In the final days of the Obama administration, some White House officials reportedly rushed to preserve and spread information about possible communication between associates of then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian officials, fearing the information could be compromised by the incoming administration.

Trump rejected an earlier Times report that said USA authorities had information about repeated contacts between people associated with the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials.

Burr, the Republican from Winston-Salem, acknowledged to The Washington Post that he "had conversations about" Russian-related news reports with the White House and talked with reporters to dispute articles by The New York Times and CNN that claimed "repeated" or "constant" contact between Trump campaign members and Russian intelligence operatives. Former and current White House officials told news outlets that Flynn had discussed USA sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak in December, weeks before Trump's inauguration.

USA intelligence analysts have concluded that Russian Federation tried to help Trump win the White House by discrediting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her party through cyber attacks.

The US woke up on Thursday to a "triple whammy" of new media reports linking the Trump administration with Russian Federation, throwing the White House on the defensive and sparking fresh calls for a formal investigation.

Though an official, six-page scoping document is classified, Nunes and Schiff released a summary of the investigation's aims in the form of four questions: "What Russian cyber activity and other active measures were directed against the United States and its allies?"

Coats said his role "is to provide you the intelligence to formulate policy" and "not be a spokesman for any political decisions that are made".

Top Democrats are now pushing for Sessions to step down.

A Trump spokesman said the White House was "simply taking proactive steps" and called the accusations of nefarious ties between the president and Russian Federation "false and politically motivated attacks".

On Monday, Trump was asked if he would support a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's influence on last year's election.

Warner also said he expects Coats cooperate fully with the committee's Russia probe, including any "inappropriate" contacts that individuals associated with Trump may have had with the Russians. "You had me at hello for going after foreign threats, but I'm not there on innocent Americans".

Gingrich said Trump should "take a lesson from the past" by appointing a "very smart, independent person" to investigate.

But a flood of reporting and leaks from inside the White House have raised serious questions about the president's relationship with Russian Federation, and it's increasingly clear that an independent investigation will be necessary.

"I have full confidence that's the way it'll turn out", Coats said.

In the meantime, he said, he has "been assured that I have the authority to be a member of that committee and be at that committee in every one of its meetings". Just last week, it was even reported that the administration took the unprecedented step of reaching out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and essentially begging the agency to shoot down media reports linking Trump's presidential campaign to Moscow.

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