GTY 626793320 A POL USA NY
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
Drew Angerer, Getty Images

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — The top U.S. intelligence official is saying 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 says 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 has been under scrutiny since he said he wished Trump had not met one-on-one with the Russian leader, expressed dismay that the president had publicly undermined U.S. intelligence agencies, and appeared surprised by the revelation that Trump invited Putin to a meeting in Washington later this year.

Says Coats: “My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president.”

Images from the summit in Helsinki: