- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2018

Former CIA Director John O. Brennan said Thursday there is no question that President Trump colluded with Russia and accused a “desperate” Mr. Trump of stripping his security clearance in order to intimidate other opponents.

“Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash,” Mr. Brennan wrote in an op-ed published in The New York Times.

“Mr. Trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him, which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him,” he wrote.

The former head spy described the coordination between the U.S. intelligence agencies to track Russian involvement with American citizens “who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters.”

According to Mr. Brennan, that work was made more difficult by Mr. Trump’s infamous 2016 Russia comment. Coming from a presidential candidate, the statement encouraged Russian hackers and his base to favor a long-time geopolitical foe, he wrote.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said in a campaign speech.

In an interview for CNN’s “New Day Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper disagreed that Mr. Trump claims of innocence are “hogwash.” He did stress that the security concerns were serious, so the Mueller investigation needs to be allowed to complete its work.

“Well I don’t know if I’d use that word,” he said.

“I think there needs to be an official determination made about this and that, I think, can only be done by the Mueller investigation,” Mr. Clapper said.

Mr. Trump argued Mr. Brennan used his clearance to pursue personal and partisan interests.

“Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations — wild outbursts on the Internet and television — about this administration,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Following the Helsinki summit, Mr. Brennan said the president’s performance amounted to treason and put the intelligence community at risk.

He also said the intelligence community could start withholding information from the president in order to protect national secrets.

Mr. Trump announced that Mr. Brennan is may be the first in a longer list of Obama-era government officials stripped of their clearances. The others include former FBI Director James B. Comey, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and former Attorney General Sally Yates.

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