Intel chief grilled over Trump's response to Russian election attacks

US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Tuesday that there are ongoing conversations taking place betw...

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 12:44 PM

US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Tuesday that there are ongoing conversations taking place between President Donald Trump and appropriate US agencies about how to counter the threat of Russian attacks on the 2018 midterm elections.

"It is a whole of government approach, I have discussed it personally with the President and he has said I assume all of you are doing your jobs ... all of you that head up these agencies relative to cyber but if you need for me to say, direct you to do it -- do it," Coats told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"The White House is engaged and has been," Coats added, noting that the current discussion is not just about defensive measures.

However, Coats appeared to walk back that answer later in the hearing when asked to clarify the response, telling lawmakers that he was describing ongoing discussions about combating cyber threats more broadly and not within the specific context of Russian election interference.

Asked then if he has heard anything from White House on directly responding to Russian election interference, Coats said, "there obviously is concern about this ongoing effort of Russians to interfere with our elections."

"The White House is well aware of that as we all are and the agencies have been tasked to address this," Coats added, noting that meetings have also included state and local election officials relative to protections.

Coats' testimony comes just one week after Adm. Mike Rogers -- director of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command chief -- told lawmakers that he has not been granted the authority by Trump to disrupt Russian election hacking operations where they originate.

"It has not changed the calculus or the behavior on behalf of the Russians," Rogers said about the US response to Russia's cyber threat to date.

On Tuesday, Coats was questioned on several occasions by lawmakers who argued that his testimony directly contradicted Rogers' claim that Trump has not granted him the authority to respond appropriately to the threat of ongoing Russian election attacks.

"The NSA, which Adm. Rogers directs, is one component of many agencies involved," Coats said, adding that the Department of Homeland Security has taken the lead on the issue and is engaged with the White House.

When pressed for specifics as to what is being done, Coats said that information is classified.

Later, Coats was again asked: "The President of the United States has never directed you to do to Russia what they are doing to us, correct?"

"The President directs me to do my job and my job is to provide the intelligence, which formulates policy," Coats responded: "The President told me to do my job. My job is to collect, to oversee the 17 intelligence agencies that ... provide the intelligence information to the President and to our policy makers."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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