King Troubled By Trump's Threat To Dismiss U.S. Intelligence Chief

Feb 19, 2019

Maine independent U.S. Sen. Angus King is expressing concerns about reports that President Trump is considering dismissing U.S. Intelligence Director Dan Coats over comments Coats made to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Speaking on CNN Tuesday morning, King said reports indicating that President Trump was upset with information that Coats provided to senators at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing sends a troubling message.

"The message this sends - if in fact Dan Coats is pushed out, which I deeply hope isn't the case because he's a great public servant - but if he is, the message is: 'Don't give me the facts. Don't give the people the facts,'" King said.  "That's what the intelligence community is all about."

King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committe, said willfully ignoring facts can lead to serious consequences. 

"When they start cooking the data to suit the policy preferences of the president, or the Congress, or the secretary of state, or anybody else, that's when we get into trouble," he said. "That's Vietnam. That's Iraq. That's how we make big policy mistakes."

According to reports, President Trump was upset that Coats told the senators at the hearing that President Trump was unlikely to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.