— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 12, 2017
Former CIA Director John Brennan appeared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” to slam President Donald Trump.
“It’s very clear that the Russians interfered in the election, and it’s still puzzling as to why Mr. Trump does not acknowledge that and embrace it, and also push back hard against Mr. Putin,” Brennan said, adding that the Moscow’s threat against American democracy was real.
In a declassified report released in January, four U.S. intelligence agencies said the Russian government interfered in the the 2016 presidential election to undermine Hillary Clinton, and help Trump. It’s not good optics for the president. A special counsel and several congressional committees are investigating whether his campaign colluded with Moscow. He called this allegation a “witch hunt” by Democrats. To be sure, Brennan worked under former POTUS Barack Obama. So did former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who appeared on “State of the Union” at Brennan’s side. They don’t (openly) say collusion is real, but it’s awkward enough that they claim Moscow engaged in efforts to help the president win.
Trump’s own CIA Director Mike Pompeo and DNI Daniel Coats have both defended the assessment that the Kremlin interfered. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied the allegations, and the president has said that he took him at his word.
“He said he didn’t meddle,” Trump told reporters on an Air Force One flight to Hanoi, Vietnam. “He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”
Such a comment is out of character for the iconoclastic, blunt president. He later changed his phrasing on Sunday.
“As currently led, by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies,” Trump said.