America's top spy issues forceful response after Trump sides with Putin over the US intelligence community: 'We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling'

  • Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a forceful statement on the subject of Russia’s election interference after President Donald Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
  • Trump appeared to sympathize with Putin on the subject of election meddling, saying at the joint press conference that he didn’t see “any reason” why Russia would interfere in US elections.
  • “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election,” Coats said.

The director of national intelligence on Monday issued a forceful response to President Donald Trump’s remarks during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that cast doubt on US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 US election.

“The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers,” said Dan Coats, the top US intelligence official. “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

Earlier in the day, during the joint press conference, Putin denied that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election. The Russian leader also said in response to a reporter’s question that the notion that the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin in that regard was “utter nonsense.”

Trump referred to Coats when discussing the subject.

“My people came to me – Dan Coats came to me, some others – they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said.

The president drew broad condemnation for those remarks from both sides of the political aisle.

Former CIA Director John Brennan said Trump’s behaviour in Helsinki on Monday was “nothing short of treasonous,” while Republican Sen. John McCain said it “was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

More coverage of the Trump-Putin summit:

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.