Trump Advisers Furious That 'Rogue' Dan Coats Appeared to Be Laughing at President: Report

The White House is reportedly furious over comments made by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats during an interview Thursday in which advisers for Donald Trump say Coats appeared to be laughing at the president and has subsequently “gone rogue.”

A senior White House official also said Coats’s comments may be viewed by Trump as betrayal following his praise for Coats in a CBS interview the previous night, according to The Washington Post

Appearing at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Coats seemed shocked to learn during the live televised event that Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited to the White House by Trump for a second summit in the fall. The invite came on the heels of a meeting between the two leaders in Helsinki on Monday that has sparked significant bipartisan backlash.

“Say that again?” Coats told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell after she shared a tweet from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that said national security adviser John Bolton was asked by the president to invite Putin to Washington. Coats appeared to laugh in disbelief, saying: “OK. That’s going to be special.”

Trump issued a tweet Friday morning, calling the summit a “great success,” saying the “real enemy of the people” is the “Fake News Media.”

The senior White House official told the Post the president could view those statements by Coats as a betrayal, given they came just hours after he sought to praise and reassure his intelligence chief. Trump said Wednesday evening that he had “tremendous faith in Dan Coats, and if he says that [there was Russian interference], I would accept that.”

A full transcript of the president’s CBS interview was sent to Coats to make sure he saw the president’s remarks, the senior official told The Post, amid fears that his chief intelligence officer might resign over the president's refusal to acknowledge or confront Putin over Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

Coats also said Thursday that he did not know what occurred during the two-hour, one-on-one meeting with Putin. If Trump had asked Coats how the meeting should be conducted, Coats said he would have “suggested a different way.”

House Republicans dismissed a motion by Democrats Thursday to subpoena the president’s interpreter, who was the only other American in the room beside Trump, about what exactly was discussed. Since the Monday summit, Trump has continued to offer conflicting statements about whether he believes the Russian president interfered in the election, numerous times appearing to side with Putin and undermine U.S. intelligence officials.  

It was reported Wednesday that the president was first briefed on the matter two weeks before his inauguration when intelligence officials showed him texts and emails from Russian military personnel and others that indicated Putin directly ordered the election meddling.

Trump has continued to call special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.”

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