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Dan Coats: Reaction to Putin summit wasn’t meant to be disrespectful

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FILE PHOTO: Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats attends a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
FILE
PHOTO: U.S. President Trump holds Cabinet meeting at the White
House in Washington

Thomson
Reuters


  • Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, said
    in a statement Saturday that he did not intend to be
    disrespectful when he expressed surprise over a second summit
    with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Coats had learned of the news on Thursday in the middle
    of a live interview, and responded, “OK. That’s gonna be
    special.”
  • Coats said Saturday his response was “admittedly
    awkward” and “was in now way meant to be disrespectful or
    criticize the actions of the president.”

The top US intelligence official said Saturday he meant no
disrespect to President Donald Trump in a televised interview
discussing the summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a statement
that his Thursday comments at the Aspen
Security Forum
in Colorado were not intended to be critical
of the president’s handling of the summit.

Coats had learned mid-interview that talks were underway for
Putin to visit the White House this fall at Trump’s invitation,
and didn’t conceal his surprise.

“Say that again,” Coats said when MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell
informed him of the breaking news.

“OK. That’s gonna be special,” he said.

Coats had already been under scrutiny since he said he wished
Trump had not met one-on-one with the Russian leader and
expressed dismay that the president had publicly undermined US
intelligence agencies.

“My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be
disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president,” Coats
said in his statement.

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