Ex-CIA Director John Brennan, Who Repeatedly Attacked Trump, Says He May Have Had ‘Bad Information’ on Russia

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 26, 2019Politics
Ex-CIA Director John Brennan, Who Repeatedly Attacked Trump, Says He May Have Had ‘Bad Information’ on Russia
Former CIA director John Brennan and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on May 16, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

John Brennan, CIA director during the Obama administration, said he may have had “bad information” when he repeatedly attacked President Donald Trump.

Brennan said just weeks before the submission of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report that Trump would be indicted over his alleged collusion with Russia.

But Mueller said his team was unable to establish a link between Trump or his campaign and Russia, despite spending over two years, interviewing 500 witnesses, and executing almost 500 search warrants.

He also said that there would be no more indictments.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump holds a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office at the White House, on March 25, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Brennan said during an appearance on MSNBC earlier in March that Mueller would be delivering “what I think will be the final indictments.”

“What makes you believe that he has more indictments?” host Chris Matthews asked.

“Because he hasn’t addressed the issues related to criminal conspiracy as well as any individuals—in terms of American persons, U.S. persons.”

Matthews said that Brennan had expertise in the matter because the investigation was developing while he was still on the job before Trump became president.

“Well, it was,” Brennan said.

“Did you see enough at that stage to believe that that would result in indictments once investigated?”

“I thought at the time that there was going to be individuals who were going to have issues with the Department of Justice,” Brennan said. He noted that there have been charges brought against some figures who were part of the Trump campaign, though he didn’t note that prosecutors have stressed repeatedly that none of the charges involved collusion.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller
Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks with his wife Ann Mueller in Washington on March 24, 2019. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“I don’t have any inside knowledge. I’m not talking with anybody in the Special Counsel’s—”

“Yes, you do!” Matthews interjected. “You have the inside knowledge.”

“Not about the status of the investigation right now,” Brennan said.

He then speculated, saying: “I do think if anybody in the Trump family is going to be indicted it would be in the final act of Mueller’s investigation, because Bob Mueller and his team knows that if he were to do something … that would basically be the death knell of the Special Counsel’s office.”

Matthews championed Brennan’s expertise, telling viewers to “listen to every word” that he said.

Brennan has also used his Twitter account to suggest that there was evidence showing wrongdoing by Trump and his administration.

“It is my sincere hope that the forthcoming exposure of your malfeasance & corruption will convince enough Republicans to abandon you in 2019. We have had enough of your whining from the White House. We need an actual leader—our Nation’s future is at stake,” he wrote in December 2018.

In January, he wrote to Trump: “Your cabal of unprincipled, unethical, dishonest, and sycophantic cronies is being methodically brought to justice. We all know where this trail leads. If your utter incompetence is not enough to run you out of office, your increasingly obvious political corruption surely will.”

On March 20, just days before the report’s release, Brennan told Trump: “Your bizarre tweets and recent temper tantrums reveal your panic over the likelihood the Special Counsel will soon further complicate your life, putting your political & financial future in jeopardy. Fortunately, Lady Justice does not do NDAs.”

Following the Mueller report submission, Brennan appeared back on MSNBC on March 25, equivocating about the source of his warnings against Trump.

“Did you receive bad information throughout this process like so many of us did that there was more there than ended up in the report regarding collusion?” asked “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough.

“Well, I don’t know if I received bad information but I suspected there was more than there actually was,” Brennan said. “I am relieved that it’s been determined there was not a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government over our election.”

He then said that there were inappropriate contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia but added that he was “not all that surprised that the high bar of criminal conspiracy was not met.”

Among those commenting on Brennan’s attacks on Trump was Terry Moran, a correspondent for ABC. Posting a video of Brennan’s suggestion that members of Trump’s family could be indicted, he wrote: “John Brennan has a lot to answer for—going before the American public for months, cloaked with CIA authority and openly suggesting he’s got secret info, and repeatedly turning in performances like this.”

“He used the prestige of his position as DCI to advance his argument that the president was a criminal and a traitor. What he did makes it harder for future DCIs to maintain the confidence of the country; he poisoned that high office with partisan hackery,” Moran added.

Trump has commented on Brennan’s open disdain for him before, noting that there were a number of mistakes the CIA made during the ex-CIA director’s tenure, including spying on the Senate.

“I think Brennan is a very bad guy and, if you look at it, a lot of things happened under his watch,” Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in mid-2018. “I think he’s a very bad person.”

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