April 22, 2018

Former CIA Director Says Trump Is Being "Played" by Putin

12 November 2017, 09:50 | Lucia Cruz

Former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Screenshot CNN

Former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.   Screenshot  CNN

I mean, give me a break.

Brennan told CNN host Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday that USA intelligence agencies - particularly the CIA, NSA, and Federal Bureau of Investigation, which are responsible for counterintelligence and analyzing Russia's threat - have seen clear evidence that Russian Federation meddled in the election. "You can only ask so many times", Trump told reporters on Air Force One.

"The Russian threat to our democracy and our democratic foundations is real".

To make things worse, Trump also stated that he believed Putin was honest when denying all allegations to the effect that he had orchestrated the Russian interference.

The CIA confirms allegations of Russia's interference in United States presidential elections past year.

Brennan blasted Trump Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" for attempting to downplay the conclusions reached by the US intelligence community, namely that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election for the goal of backing Trump.

Update 12:55pm CT, Nov. 11: The CIA released a statement in response to Trump's claims, saying that Director Mike Pompeo stands by the intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election.

Following comments from Brennan and Clapper, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin came on CNN to protest their characterization of Trump.

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He also slammed Trump for attacking Clapper, who served in the military for 35 years, on Veteran's Day.

Trump later attempted to soften those comments, claiming, "I believe very much in our intelligence agencies". And like Senator McCain, really did put his life at risk because of this country's national security. "I think it demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint". Brennan responded that Trump's behavior sends a disturbing signal to America's allies and partners who are concerned about Russian interference in their democratic processes as well.

Brennan said Putin's apparent success with Trump was due to his use of flattery and Brennan's suspicion that Trump "for whatever reason" might be "intimidated" by Putin.

"And our president fosters that ambiguity", he said.

Clapper said that although he had "no direct evidence of collusion" while still on the job, he did not know about former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos' activities, which were revealed last month in unsealed court documents. "So, it's either naivete, ignorance or fear, in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing vis-a-vis the Russians".

Clapper acknowledged the detrimental effect of Trump's continued attacks on the US intelligence community, but he said the intelligence community would forge ahead regardless.

Brennan noted that he, Clapper, and Comey did not author the January report, saying other intelligence officers did.

"I do believe in my heart that the men and women of the intelligence community will continue to convey truth to power, even if the power ignores the truth", said Clapper.

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