President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the director of national intelligence pledged on Tuesday to support thorough investigation of any Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, seeking to reassure lawmakers worried that partisan politics might interfere with a probe.
“I think this is something that needs to be investigated and addressed,” former Republican Senator Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee during his confirmation hearing to be the top U.S. intelligence official.
Coats, 73, a former member of the intelligence panel, also promised that it would have full access to all of the documents and other materials needed for an investigation.
“I have no intention of holding anything back from this committee,” Coats said.
Trump denounced intelligence agencies for their assessment that Russia sought to influence the election on his behalf, prompting concerns about his support for them. Trump has also repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, leading some in Washington worry that he might not take a hard enough line in dealings with Moscow.
In his opening statement, Coats addressed that concern by listing activity by Russia, along with that of China and North Korea, as among the main challenges faced by the United States.
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