Brennan: 'Trump's Claims of No Collusion Are...Hogwash'

Susan Jones | August 16, 2018 | 8:26am EDT
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Former CIA Director John Brennan took it very seriously when then-candidate Donald Trump said Russia should try to find Hillary Clinton's 33,000 deleted emails. Trump made the comment at a July 27, 2016 news conference in Florida. (Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - "Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash," former CIA Director John Brennan wrote in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday, the day after President Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance.

Brennan wrote that he and other members of the Obama intelligence community were worried not only about Russian attempts to interfere in the upcoming election, but also about the potential for American citizens to become "pawns in Russian hands."

Brennan indicated that he and other Obama officials took it very seriously when Trump, in an offhand comment at a July 2016 news conference, suggested that Russia should look for the 33,000 emails that Clinton deleted from the private server she should not have been using for official government business.

Brennan wrote:

The already challenging work of the American intelligence and law enforcement communities was made more difficult in late July 2016, however, when Mr. Trump, then a presidential candidate, publicly called upon Russia to find the missing emails of Mrs. Clinton. By issuing such a statement, Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen, but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponent.

Such a public clarion call certainly makes one wonder what Mr. Trump privately encouraged his advisers to do — and what they actually did — to win the election. While I had deep insight into Russian activities during the 2016 election, I now am aware — thanks to the reporting of an open and free press — of many more of the highly suspicious dalliances of some American citizens with people affiliated with the Russian intelligence services.

Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.

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.

Brennan said Trump "has clearly 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. Now more than ever, it is critically important that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team of investigators be allowed to complete their work without interference — from Mr. Trump or anyone else — so that all Americans can get the answers they so rightly deserve."

As a reminder, at a news conference in Florida on July 27, 2016, President Trump said he had nothing to do with Putin or the hacking of DNC emails, as Clinton's campaign manager had suggested. Just two days earlier, Robby Mook told CNN that Russian hackers were leaking DNC emails to hurt Clinton and help Trump.

A reporter asked Trump at the July 27 news conference, "why not get tough on Putin," tell him to "stay out" of the U.S. election:

“What do I have to get involved with Putin for?" Trump responded. "I don't have anything to do with Putin, I've never spoken to him, I don't know anything about him other than he will respect me.

“He doesn't respect our president, and if it is Russia, which it's probably not -- nobody knows who it is -- but if it is Russia, it's really bad for a different reason, because it shows how little respect they have for our country when they would hack into a major party and get everything.

"But it would be interesting to see -- I will tell you this: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press, he added sarcastically. "Let's see if that happens."

At the same news conference, Trump said the Russians "probably have her 33,000 e-mails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 e-mails that she lost and deleted because you'd see some beauties there. So let's see."

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