Dan Coats feels ‘so bad’ for successor as Ukraine drama ramps up

Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Tuesday said he feels “so bad” for acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who stepped into the role just as a whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump launched an escalating political controversy.

“Nothing came to me,” Coats said Tuesday during an appearance at the Economic Club of Indiana, according to The Indianapolis Star. “I left on August 15. … The very next day that was presented to Joe (Maguire). I feel so bad for Joe. He is caught in a squeeze here and the lawyers are divided. So they are trying to work all that out. That’s about all I can say about that.”

Maguire has faced immediate scrutiny in his role after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence refused to comply with a deadline to hand over the whistleblower complaint to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which had been deemed by the intelligence community inspector general to be “credible and urgent.”

The whistleblower complaint deals, at least in part, with a phone call Trump had in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. On Friday, CNN reported Trump pressed Zelensky in the call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, according to a person familiar with the situation.

On the day of Trump’s call with Zelensky, word began to spread that Trump was reviewing a plan to cut foreign assistance to Ukraine.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

Coats said that “there’s much I can’t say” about the situation, adding, “We’re in the secrets business … obviously there are a number of things going on relative to that and you’ve been reading about it in the paper and there’s speculation.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced Tuesday that the whistleblower who filed the complaint would like to speak to the committee.

The whistleblower has requested guidance from Maguire on how to do so, Schiff said.

“We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so,” Schiff tweeted.

“We’re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week,” he added.