Trump’s top intelligence chief says he’s ‘not in a position to understand fully what happened’ in Trump’s private meeting with Putin

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Thursday said he still didn't have full details regarding what President Donald Trump spoke about with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a private meeting in Helsinki, Finland, in July.

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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Thursday said he still didn’t have full details regarding what President Donald Trump spoke about with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a private meeting in Helsinki, Finland, in July.
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Carlos Barria/Reuters

  • Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said he’s “not in a position to understand fully” what occurred during President Donald Trump’s private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
  • Trump’s meeting with Putin lasted roughly two hours.
  • The only other American in the room was the president’s translator, Marina Gross.
  • Since the summit, there have been broad concerns the president made agreements with Putin that have not been properly explained to key US officials.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Thursday said he’s “not in a position to understand fully” what occurred during President Donald Trump’s controversial private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, last month.

“I’m not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened in Helsinki,” Coats said when questioned about the meeting, which occurred a little more than two weeks ago.

Trump’s meeting with Putin lasted roughly two hours. The only other American in the room was the president’s translator, Marina Gross.

Since the summit, there have been broad concerns the president made agreements with Putin that have not been properly explained to key US officials.

Coats on Thursday was joined by other senior intelligence officials at the White House as they discussed the subject of Russian election interference and warned the Kremlin still poses a major threat toward the US electoral system.

“The president has specifically directed us to make the matter of election meddling and securing our election process a top priority,” Coats said.

Trump’s rhetoric on Russian election interference has often contradicted statements and conclusions from the US intelligence community, including during his meeting with Putin last month.

The president recently claimed Russia will attempt to aid Democrats in the 2018 midterms, providing no evidence to support the assertion.

Coats on Thursday declined to answer whether Russia favors one party over another regarding its efforts to meddle in this year’s elections.