Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., sharply rebuked former CIA Director John Brennan on Thursday for his allegation in an Op-Ed this week that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race.
Burr further contended that if Brennan’s claim is purely political with no facts to support it, President Donald Trump was completely justified in pulling his security clearance.
On Wednesday, the White House announced it was revoking the former Obama administration official’s clearance explaining, “Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the Nation’s most closely held secrets and facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos.”
Brennan responded in an Op-Ed in The New York Times the following day titled, “President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash.”
The piece is subtitled, “That’s why the president revoked my security clearance: to try to silence anyone who would dare challenge him.”
Brennan pointed to Trump’s public call in the summer of 2016 for Russia to find his rival Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 missing emails as an indication collusion occurred between the GOP candidate’s campaign and Moscow.
The former CIA head further contended that if Trump was willing to make such a public call, the question is what was happening privately.
“While I had deep insight into Russian activities during the 2016 election, I now am aware — thanks to the reporting of an open and free press — of many more of the highly suspicious dalliances of some American citizens with people affiliated with the Russian intelligence services,” Brennan wrote.
“Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash,” he then proclaimed.
Brennan concluded his piece with an accusation that Trump’s decision to pull his security clearance was “politically motivated” to protect himself.
“Now more than ever, it is critically important that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team of investigators be allowed to complete their work without interference — from Mr. Trump or anyone else,” he argued, “so that all Americans can get the answers they so rightly deserve.”
Burr issued a statement in response to Brennan’s Op-Ed noting that the former CIA director included no firm evidence of collusion in the Intelligence Community Assessment released in early 2017.
Senate Intel Chairman, Richard Burr is defending President Trump. I believe this is a remarkable turn in the tides of Washington affairs and may well represent the beginning of the end of the Mueller Witch Hunt. @realDonaldTrump #AmericaFirst #Dobbs pic.twitter.com/YP7pYZPACa
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) August 16, 2018
“Director Brennan’s recent statements purport to know as fact that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power,” Burr said. “If Director Brennan’s statement is based on intelligence he received while still leading the CIA, why didn’t he include it in the Intelligence Community Assessment released in 2017?”
Burr observed that if Brennan’s assertion is based on information he has received since leaving office, publicizing it constitutes a breach of intelligence.
Further, “If he has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the Special Counsel, not The New York Times.”
The North Carolina senator then turned to the other alternative: Brennan’s allegation is purely a political attack.
“If, however, Director Brennan’s statement is purely political and based on conjecture, the president has full authority to revoke his security clearance as head of the Executive Branch.”
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