House intel chair on Trump campaign ties to Russia: ‘There’s nothing there’

The committee’s probe will consist of interviews, witness testimony, and a “review all reporting underlying the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) ‘Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, ‘” the announcement said. While Coats had no trouble to responding to Wyden’s questions about Russian Federation, he refused to commit to publishing the number of Americans swept up in the NSA’s foreign intelligence dragnet, or release public updates on why that estimate hadn’t been completed yet.

The comments by former Senator Dan Coats at a February 28 confirmation hearing come amid the mounting fallout over what US intelligence officials have called a Moscow-directed hacking and public opinion manipulation campaign aimed at influencing the outcome of the USA presidential election.

“Cyberspace is both a resource and a liability; an increasingly connected world creates tremendous opportunities but also many vulnerabilities”, Coats said in his opening remarks.

Federal investigators have been looking into possible contacts between Trump advisers and Russian Federation, while congressional committees are investigating Russia’s role in political hacking during the campaign.

Asked if Russian Federation could be one of those allies or whether Moscow was a foe of the new Trump administration, Haley said: “Russia doesn’t have to be one or the other”.

“We’ve had one for a while – we’re increasing the scope of that investigation”, he said.

Not long after, news organizations reported that Trump was considering bringing in a friend, financier Stephen Feinberg, to do a “review” of the intelligence community.

Nadler called the move an effort to “bury” the committee’s debate amid media coverage of the president’s address.

Like several others in Trump’s Cabinet, the 73-year-old Coats may not see eye to eye with the president, however.

“I’m reassured with regard to your position”, said Sen. Angus King (D-Maine) said. And he reiterated that Americans “want to know the truth” and that Republicans on the committee are the ones “who are standing in the way”.

According to The Times, after Obama asked for an investigation into Russian tampering into the elections, officials found some “damning” evidence. But I also understand that is politics. He did so for one reason, he said on Tuesday – his concerns that in a pressing situation, such interrogation techniques might be the only way to learn information that could help prevent an imminent attack.

Congress legally ended the CIA’s use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques in 2015, through an amendment Coats – then a senator – voted against.

Coats told senators Russian Federation “definitely” tried to influence the presidential race, but echoed the spy agencies’ careful agnosticism by adding, “to what extent they were successful, I don’t think we know”. He has reported from more than two-dozen countries including Iraq, Yemen, DRC, and South Sudan.

Sean Carberry is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence.

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