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:
- Intelligence director Coats caught off guard by Trump inviting Putin to Washington
- Intelligence chief Dan Coats counters Trump: 'We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling'
- White House says Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Washington in the fall
- Russia calls U.S. charges against alleged spy Maria Butina fabricated; demands release