Top intel chief on statement after Trump-Putin summit: ‘I was just doing my job’

Top intel chief on statement after Trump-Putin summit: ‘I was just doing my job’
© Greg Nash

Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHillicon Valley: Facebook co-founder calls for breaking up company | Facebook pushes back | Experts study 2020 candidates to offset 'deepfake' threat | FCC votes to block China Mobile | Groups, lawmakers accuse Amazon of violating children's privacy Experts are studying mannerisms of 2020 candidates to help offset threat of 'deepfake' videos Bolton held unexpected meeting on Iran with top intel, military advisers at CIA: report MORE said Thursday he was "just doing my job" when he issued a statement backing the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE cast doubt on it in Helsinki.

“I was just doing my job,” Coats said Thursday at the Aspen Security Summit. “I just felt at this point in time what we had assessed and reassessed and reassessed and carefully gone over still stands and that it was important to take that stand on behalf of the intelligence community and on behalf of the America people.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

“My thoughts there were that I believed I needed to correct the record for that and that this is the job I signed up for, and that was my responsibility,” Coats told NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

On Monday, Trump appeared to dismiss the assessment at a press conference alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin following a joint meeting in Helsinki. Hours later, Coats issued a statement affirming the assessment and describing the intelligence community’s conclusions as “fact-based.”

Trump’s remarks also sparked broad, bipartisan backlash – resulting in Trump walking his remarks back the following day, saying that he misspoke and backs the Obama-era intelligence conclusion of Russian interference.

On Thursday, Coats said he was encouraged by Trump’s clarification.

“Obviously, I wished he had made a different statement, but I think now that has been clarified based on his late reactions to this,” Coats said.