Former CIA Director John Brennan told MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday that he doesn’t think the Trump administration was “playing” Russia by attacking the former spy chief.
“The Trump administration, I think, was very smart about their strategy,” Brennan said.
“The Russian government was using us to undermine their own ability to do so, and they were doing so by hacking our computers and stealing our information.
I think that Putin was wrong.
I don’t think that they were playing.”
Brennan said the intelligence community was “very worried” by Russia’s cyber-espionage efforts and warned against giving in to Russian pressure.
“We’ve got to be careful not to give in to their pressures, because it can only go one way,” he said.
“And so the Trump team had to respond very aggressively to their cyber-attacks.”
In a series of tweets Wednesday, President Donald Trump said Brennan and his former CIA boss were “in cahoots” with the Russians.
“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public,” Trump wrote.
“One last shot at me.
Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
In a statement issued to The Hill, Brennan said he would not comment on “specific intelligence matters.”
The FBI director has been a frequent critic of Trump, who has said he will nominate Brennan to replace outgoing Director James Comey in the post vacated by Comey’s firing.
In a tweet Wednesday, Brennan accused Trump of “hypocrisy and mendacity” and suggested the president was “not going to take responsibility for his own actions.”
“The president, like others in his administration, has acted unilaterally in trying to distract from the Russian interference narrative that he has been using for years,” Brennan wrote.
“I would ask the American people to continue to support the president’s decision to nominate a man who will bring a deep understanding of the issues at hand.”
Bryan also told MSNBC that Trump’s firing of Comey had not impacted his ability to continue his intelligence work.
“What the president said he was going to do was he was putting himself in a position where he was in a really difficult position.
I would say he has not taken any actions to alter that position,” he added.”
So I think he has kept his eye on the ball.”