John Brennan Explains His Need to Slam Trump; Says Many News Items Are 'Fiction'

By Susan Jones | June 1, 2018 | 9:33am EDT
Former CIA Director John Brennan (Photo: Screen capture/MSNBC)

( - "These are abnormal times, and he is an abnormal president," former CIA Director John Brennan said about Donald Trump on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Brennan, who now does analysis for NBC, has written his first op-ed since leaving the government, titled, "I will speak out until integrity returns to the White House." It was published Friday in The Washington Post.

Brennan told "Morning Joe" on Friday he wrote the op-ed because "I felt the need to explain why I and so many other national security officials are speaking out because of the abnormal and aberrant behavior of Mr. Trump that very much concerns us, because of the negative impact we believe it is having on our national security; the bad signal that it sends to our young Americans, as I say in the op-ed, who will look upon him as somebody who should be emulated as the most powerful position in the world, the president of the United States; and his continual lying as well lack of ethics as well as lack of rigor in terms of the policies that he pursues.

"So it is abnormal for us to speak out as critically and vocally as we have, but these are abnormal times and he is an abnormal president."

In response to a question about what triggered the Trump-Russia counter-intelligence investigation, Brennan shot down reports that the probe began when the head of British intelligence came to Washington for a secret meeting with Brennan.

“Well, I continuously shake my head at how much fabrication is going on," Brennan said. "People make things up out of whole cloth. The one report you're referring to says that Robert Hannigan, the head of GCHQ, which is Great Britain's NSA equivalent, came over and delivered information to me that involved the Trump campaign. No such visit or meeting took place.

“I didn't put eyes on the Steele dossier until December of 2016, after the election, but yet people claim that I was the one that was sharing it around town and briefing it. That is not true,” Brennan said.

“And so I think it shows that Mr. Trump and his continued emphasis on lying and fabrication and untruths, falsehoods -- it just feeds this, and it encourages others to do it. And this is what I think is really so corrosive on our country and our government today.”

Brennan would not say what triggered the Trump-Russia probe, but he did say that during 2016, the CIA worked "very closely" with its domestic partners and on occasion with foreign partners "to try to understand what Russia was doing, not what U.S. persons, U.S. officials were doing, but what the Russians were doing to undermine us.

"And I shared information with Jim Comey and with the White House as well as with the folks on the Hill to make sure there was a complete awareness of the things that we knew, in terms of what Russia was doing. But again, I keep reading stories that are fiction, and that's what they should be titled."

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