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Intelligence Director on Putin Invite: 'Say That Again?'

Trump says Obama was a 'patsy' on Russia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2018 6:06 AM CDT
In this still image from video provided by the Aspen Security Forum, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats speaks at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Aspen, Colorado.   (Aspen Security Forum via AP)
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(Newser) – President Trump has invited Vladimir Putin to visit the White House—which was news to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats during a discussion at the Aspen Security Forum Thursday. When MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell said the White House had tweeted the announcement, the clearly surprised Coats said: "Say that again?" Coats, the nation's top intelligence official, said "Did I hear you," per the HuffPost, then paused before saying: "OK. That's going to be special." He said he had been unaware of the invite, but his office would brief Trump on the security issues involved. More:

  • Helsinki regrets. Coats, a former GOP senator appointed by Trump last year, told Mitchell he wished things had happened differently during the president's Helsinki summit with Putin, NBC News reports. He said he wished Trump hadn't met alone with the Russian leader—and hadn't questioned intelligence agencies' conclusions on Russian election interference. "I wish he had made a different statement, but I think that now that has been clarified based on his late reactions to this."

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