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Trump aides get tongue-tied trying to defend their boss

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Dan Coats is taking the “intelligence” out of “national intelligence director.”

Testifying with Trump administration colleagues Wednesday to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Coats read aloud from his written testimony about “herculean” efforts made by the National Security Agency.

“The NSA has made her-cyur-ROO-lian — this is hard for me to say,” said President Trump’s national intelligence director, a former Republican senator from Indiana. “They have made extensive efforts. Her-CYOO-lian, I think, is the, uh –”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a fellow witness, intervened. “Her-cyoo-LEE-an,” he coached.

“Say that again?” Coats requested.

“Her-cyoo-LEE-an,” Rosenstein repeated.

Coats tried anew. “HERR-clee-un. HERR-clee-un,” he said.

“We know what you mean,” one of the senators reassured him.

Here’s what’s really herculean: being a Trump aide and trying not to implicate the boss even though it is patently obvious that he attempted to restrict the FBI’s Russia probe. For three hours on Wednesday, four top Trump administration officials fielded sharp questions from senators of both parties but adamantly refused to say what Trump had done. Their attempts to protect........

© Washington Post