Even Donald Trump should know you don't interfere with a federal investigation
- Author: Salvatore Jensen May 26, 2017,
May 26, 2017, 12:57
Former CIA Director John Brennan says he can't say whether there was collusion during the US presidential election between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's campaign, but he knew there was reason to have investigators "pull those threads".
The intelligence panels are among several congressional committees looking into the allegations involving links between Russian Federation and Trump's November 8 victory.
The New York Times reports that the information focused on two of the president's closest aides during the election: former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, a retired USA army lieutenant general.
On Monday, for instance, the Washington Post reported that, after former FBI Director James B. Comey told Congress the bureau was investigating possible "coordination" between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, the president asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael S. Rogers to publicly deny that there was any evidence of such a connection.
One senior official noted that "paralysis" had set in at the White House because the scandal was consuming so much time and resources.
Some Russians boasted about how well they knew Mr. Flynn. "I did not collude with the Russians to influence the elections".
"I don't have sufficient information to make a determination about whether or not such cooperation or complicity or collusion was taking place", Brennan said.
The Justice Department earlier this month appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to handle the investigation into all matters related to Russian involvement in the election, including potential collusion with Trump's associates and potential attempts to influence the investigation.
News reports that Trump asked his national intelligence director and National Security Agency chief to state publicly there was no evidence of collusion have heightened criticism. He said he saw intelligence suggesting that Russian Federation wanted to use Trump campaign officials, wittingly or not, to help in that effort.
Brennan did not cite the names of the Trump aides that USA intelligence agencies had eyed for their Russian Federation contacts.
Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he planned to issue the subpoenas this week, as part of his committee's investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election.
Schiff said that, like the Senate panel, the House will seek to sidestep Fifth Amendment issues by subpoenaing Flynn's businesses.
Brennan said he often shared classified information with Russian officials - as President Trump reportedly did recently in the Oval Office.