Brennan Scorns Trump for ‘Hogwash’ in Denying Russian Collusion
(Bloomberg) -- Former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said President Donald Trump’s claims that no one in his campaign colluded with Russians during the 2016 election are "hogwash" and decried the "politically motivated" decision by Trump to remove his security clearance.
Writing an op-ed in the New York Times Thursday morning, Brennan listed contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign during the presidential race against Hillary Clinton and chastised Trump for his July 2016 challenge to Russian hackers to dig up his opponent’s missing emails.
"Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash," Brennan wrote.
"Mr. Trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him, which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him," Brennan said.
In making the decision Wednesday to curtail Brennan’s access to the most sensitive information, Trump accused him of "erratic conduct and behavior." Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA before leading it from 2013 to 2017 under President Barack Obama, has been a vocal critic of the president.
Trump made a direct connection between Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and his decision to pull Brennan’s security clearance and review the clearances of other Obama-era officials, according to an interview the president gave to the Wall Street Journal.
On Tuesday, Brennan retweeted a Trump tweet attacking his former aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman and added his own commentary: “It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation.”
He also criticized Trump on MSNBC later Tuesday, calling him “dangerous to our nation.”
In the op-ed, Brennan wrote, "The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of ‘Trump Incorporated’ attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets."
Trump released a statement Wednesday outlining why he took the step, which was dated July 26 and cited “a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations -- wild outbursts on the internet and television -- about this Administration.”
“Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the Nation’s most closely held secrets and facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos," Trump said in the statement.
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