Brennan Says He Had Concerns About Russian Contacts With Trump Campaign

Posted May 24, 2017

"I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and United States persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals".

Brennan told how he called the head of the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, on August 4 of previous year. He said Russian Federation denied any attempts to interfere.

Brennan's testimony before the House intelligence committee on Tuesday comes one day after Flynn invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination in response to a subpoena from the Senate intelligence committee.

Brennan said he became convinced last summer that Russian Federation was trying to interfere in the campaign, saying "they were very aggressive".

Brennan's interlocutor denied any Russian interference but said he would pass on the warning to President Vladimir Putin, the ex-CIA chief said. Brennan says the contacts raised questions about whether Russian Federation was trying to gain the cooperation of those individuals.

"I saw interaction that in my mind raised questions of whether it was collusion", Brennan told Rep. Trey Gowdy, saying that he supported the Federal Bureau of Investigation digging further. "They try to suborn individuals and try to get individuals, including USA individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly", Brennan said. He said any information that is shared also needs to be cleared by the agency where the intelligence information originated. Brown and Warner praised Mandelker, but say they're frustrated with Treasury's slowness to turn over documents relating to questionable financial transfers and money laundering.

"It should be clear to everyone Russian Federation brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process and that they undertook these activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning that they do not do so", Brennan said. He told committee members there had not been a good relationship between Putin and the Clintons over the years.

In congressional testimony, Brennan said that such meddling "would destroy any near-term prospect of improvement" in relations between the United States and Russian Federation.

Brennan became so alarmed by the Russian intervention last fall that he held classified meetings with top congressional officials to impress upon them the unprecedented nature of Moscow's interference.

But Brennan told the committee he believed that Russian Federation anticipated that Clinton would be the likely victor of the presidential race, and that Russian Federation tried to "damage and bloody" her before Election Day.

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Former CIA Director John Brennan says he thinks Russian Federation cooperates with WikiLeaks through middlemen.

Now, as Republicans on the committee were quick to note, Brennan wasn't saying that he believed that the Trump campaign actively colluded with Russian Federation. "I believe I was the first USA official to brace Russian Federation on this matter", Brennan said.

Asked about Trump's decision to share the intelligence, Brennan said that classified intelligence is routinely shared with foreign governments but Trump still could have violated two protocols if he made a spontaneous decision to do so. "They continue to be very, very damaging leaks and I find them appalling and they need to be tracked down".

Former CIA director John Brennan told lawmakers Tuesday Russia had "brazenly interfered" in the 2016 presidential election and that he became concerned past year that the Russian government had attempted to influence people involved in President Donald Trump's campaign to act on Russia's behalf.

"The Russians are watching very carefully what is going on in Washington right now, and they will try to use if for their purposes", he said.

Brennan said he anxious that Russians tried to recruit Americans during the presidential campaign to work for Moscow.

He said Russian Federation used WikiLeaks as a "cut-out", or go-between, and that protests by WikiLeaks that it is not working with Russian Federation and Russia's claims it is not working with WikiLeaks are "disingenuous".

John Brennan says that when he was Central Intelligence Agency director he shared classified information with Russian Federation and other nations about threats related to terrorism. Prior to that, Brennan was a top counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to Obama.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Republican John McCain pressed Director of National Intelligence Coats on the Washington Post report that Trump had asked Coats and Admiral Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, to help him knock down the notion that there was evidence of such collusion. After pressure from Democrats, Nunes has turned over leading the committee's Russian Federation investigation to Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who is also a CPA. Brennan was testifying in an open session of the House Committee, following which is a closed session.