That’s how former intelligence officials responded to Trump’s “political hacks” insult.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump called former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “political hacks” on Saturday for disagreeing with his friendly stance toward Russia.
They both hit back on Sunday — claiming the president is getting “played” by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“By not confronting the issue directly and not acknowledging to Putin that we know you’re responsible for this, I think he’s giving Putin a pass,” Brennan said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday morning. “I think it demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint.”
Clapper piled on: “He seems very susceptible to rolling out the red carpet and honor guards and all the trappings and pomp and circumstance that come with the office, and I think that appeals to him, and I think it plays to his insecurities.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who came on the show minutes after Brennan and Clapper, then pushed back. “Those were the most ridiculous statements,” Mnuchin said. “President Trump is not getting played by anybody.”
Brennan and Clapper, who both served in the Obama administration, were referring to Trump’s comments on Saturday where he said he believed Putin’s claim that Russia didn’t meddle in the 2016 presidential election. “He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. “Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”
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