Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
IT&Software | By Jimmie Castillo

Hands off USA election, ex-CIA director says he warned Russian Federation

Hands off USA election, ex-CIA director says he warned Russian Federation

Brennan said that the FSB chief, Alexander Bortnikov, twice denied that Russia was waging such a campaign, but said he would carry Brennan's message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Brennan told how he called the head of the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, on August 4 of previous year.

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.

Brennan also said that, if press reports are accurate, Trump may have violated two major protocols governing the sharing of classified information when he spoke with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office on May 10.

The president has dismissed the story and said that there was no evidence of collusion.

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

Brennan added he didn't know if "collusion existed" between the Russians and those he identified as involved in the Trump campaign.

Former CIA Director John Brennan says Russia has a history of trying to "suborn individuals" and he anxious last summer about the number of contacts Russian officials were having with Americans.

Brennan could shed light on concerns about the security risk posed by President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Comey was unceremoniously fired by Trump days after he allegedly asked the Deputy Attorney General for more funds for his investigation into possible Russian collusion.

In another development, Trump has retained Marc Kasowitz, a New York-based trial lawyer who has represented Trump in the past, as his private attorney for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian Federation matter, a Fox Business Network reporter said on Twitter. "I don't know. But I know there was sufficient warrant investigation by the (FBI)". Moscow has denied the allegation.

President Trump has predicted the investigations won't find collusion, but his efforts to cast doubt and curb the probes have led to the appointment of a special counsel at the Justice Department. Bortnikov, Brennan said, denied any active efforts in the election.

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

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. "They try to suborn individuals and try to get individuals, including US individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly", Brennan said.

Republican Representative Trey Gowdy asked Brennan: "Did you see evidence of collusion, coordination and conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russian state actors?"

"There was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the [FBI] to determine whether or not USA persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials", Brennan said.

In late July of previous year there was so much concern that he convened a group of officials from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency to focus on it exclusively.

Flynn was forced out in February for failing to disclose the content of his talks with Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States, and misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

Brennan also told the committee that he was anxious Russia might try and "suborn individuals" during the election and was concerned about the amount of contact between Russian officials and people linked to the Trump campaign. This is someone who was intimately familiar with the intelligence gathering regarding Russian attempts to meddle in the election.

Brennan has feuded publicly with Trump over the president's treatment of intelligence agencies. Support for Trump appears to have dropped among Americans of all political stripes.

At that same hearing, former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said that Moscow's leaders "must be congratulating themselves for having exceeded their wildest expectations with a minimal expenditure of resource", a reference not only to the outcome of the 2016 race, but the chaos that has characterized the early months of the Trump administration.

With every statement like the one Brennan made today, it makes it that much harder for Trump to sell the "total hoax" storyline on Russia's meddling.

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