Coats Releases Statement Reaffirming Russia Meddled in 2016 Election

Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats
Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats / Getty Images

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats released a statement on Monday defending America's intelligence community and reaffirming its conclusion Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Coats's statement came in the wake of President Donald Trump's press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

"The Role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers," Coats said. "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."

Trump noted during the press conference that Putin maintained his stance that Russia did not meddle in the U.S. elections. After Putin also affirmed his claim during the press conference, Trump added that "[Putin] just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be."

Trump also took a swipe at special counsel Robert Mueller, who recently indicted several members of Russian intelligence for meddling in the 2016 election. He reiterated his long-held stance that his campaign was cleanly run and that it did not collude with Russia. Trump said it is "a shame that there could even be a little bit of a cloud over" his defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Trump has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans following the press conference for his remarks on Russian election meddling. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) released a statement Monday saying "there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world."

Coats was nominated to be the director of national intelligence by Trump and took office in March 2017. Coats previously served as a Republican senator from Indiana.