Ex-CIA Director: Russia May Have Recruited Trump Aides to Influence Election

In testimony Tuesday morning before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, former CIA Director John Brennan revealed publicly for the first time that he was "concerned" about contacts between Russian officials and people involved in the Trump campaign.

"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".

Monday evening, The Washington Post reported that Trump asked the Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, to push back against the FBI's Russia probe by publicly denying any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.

During a House Intelligence Committee Hearing on Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan said the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's connections with Russian Federation is "well founded".

Investigators also have questions about contacts between the Russians and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The post Former CIA director says Russian Federation was warned not to interfere in election appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

But he said that there were information about the contacts between Russians and a USA person with the Trump campaign.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the committee, recused himself from the panel's Russian Federation investigations after the House Committee on Ethics announced it was investigating Nunes for disclosing classified information.

When asked if Russia's contacts were with official members of the Trump campaign, Brennan repeatedly declined during the hearing to identify specific individuals because of the classified nature of the information.

But when Gowdy pushed him for an answer, Brennan revealed that "intelligence" had detected "contacts and interactions between Russian officials and USA persons involved in the Trump campaign".

On January 16, Trump told reporters, "I have nothing to do with Russian Federation". Brennan believes Moscow wanted Trump to win the White House. But Brennan told the committee that President Donald Trump would have violated protocol if he shared such information with Russian officials in the Oval Office spontaneously. Brennan filled in some details on the timeline of Russian meddling, telling lawmakers that his agency first became aware of Moscow's desire to stew chaos in the election in the summer of 2016.

The comments came one day after lawyers for Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that he would not cooperate with a subpoena for records of communications related to Russian Federation. But regardless of the distinction Gowdy was trying make, it wouldn't protect Trump one bit from the obstruction of justice case now hanging over his head. The classified information was reportedly about an ISIS threat and provided to the U.S.by Israeli intelligence.

It was the closest an American intelligence official has come to explaining the genesis of the FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign cooperated in Russia's meddling in the US election, and it made clear that what Trump has called "the Russian Federation thing" was viewed past year with the utmost seriousness by the intelligence community.

Meanwhile, Brennan is also likely to face questions about a split among intelligence leaders last summer over the objective of Russia's meddling in the U.S. election - whether it was created to support Trump or merely spur chaos and confusion in the election.

  • Leroy Wright