Trump slams former USA intel leaders as 'political hacks'

Clapper Downplaying Russia threat a'peril to US

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images James Clapper

Mr. Trump raised eyebrows over the weekend by saying he believes Mr. Putin is "sincere" in his denials of interference, though he later clarified he believes the assessment of USA intelligence agencies that Russian Federation meddled in last year's presidential election.

He added that whenever they had met, Putin denied ordering Russia's election meddling and he "really believed" that Putin meant it.

Trump said that the investigation into Russian interference in the election was a "Democratic-inspired thing" and a "pure hit job".

"Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump blasted former US intelligence officials by name, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey".

Former CIA Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Shapiro weighed in on Twitter, writing, "Had Obama listened to the Pakistanis over United States intelligence officials - like Trump is listening to Putin - SEAL Team Six never would have gotten Bin Laden".

Part of the answer could be that Trump is easily flattered by foreign leaders if they praise him, as Clapper noted.

The CIA and other USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election to help Mr. Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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.

Saudi has declared war on Lebanon, Hezbollah: Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
Initially there was speculation Hariri was a target of that campaign because of his family's business interests. Senior administration officials said the warning was directed at Saudi Arabia as well as at Iran and Hezbollah.

"He said he didn't meddle".

Clapper concurred, saying, "I do think both the Chinese and the Russians think they can play him". You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again.

The intelligence community released an unclassified version of its assessment in January, saying Putin ordered the election meddling to hurt Hillary Clinton's candidacy and bolster Trump's successful bid.

"So, it's very worrisome", Brennan told CNN's Jake Tapper. "You have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have [former FBI Director James] Comey".

Trump's campaign is now being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking at whether any members of the campaign, including the president himself, colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favor.

Brennan told Tapper that Trump "was referring to us as political hacks because he was trying to delegitimize the intelligence community's assessment". Comey's proven now to be a liar, and he's proven to be a leaker, so you look at that.

"I found it particularly reprehensible that on Veterans Day Donald Trump would attack and impugn the integrity and the character of Jim Clapper, who served in uniform for 35 years", said the ex-CIA chief. "Who responded to the call of his country to go to Vietnam, flew in over 70 combat support missions over Vietnam", Brennan continued".

Former intelligence chiefs said Sunday it is "astounding" that President Trump refuses to forcefully condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin over findings that Moscow interfered in last year's election.

Latest News