Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, left, and Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, exit after hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S.(Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

U.S. Spy Chief Pushes Back on Trump Over Russia's Election Hack

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats pushed back against President Donald Trump’s refusal at a summit with Russia’s president to accept the finding of American intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election.

“The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the president and policymakers,” Coats said in a emailed statement Monday. “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”

Coats responded hours after Trump, standing alongside Putin in Helsinki, said that “my people” including Coats, “came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia.”

“I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said. “I have confidence in both parties.”

Hours later, as he was flying back to Washington from Helsinki, Trump sent a tweet that was more conciliatory toward the intelligence community headed by Coats.

“As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.’ However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!”

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