Former CIA Director warned Russia Security Chief against interfering in U.S. elections

Mike Flynn arrives for a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington

But Brennan's testimony in regard to his suspicions about the possibility of collusion is broadly consistent with what a number of other high-profile voices - former acting deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Director James Comey - have said: That the ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign deserve more investigation.

Brennan told how he called the head of the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, on August 4 of a year ago.

US intelligence agencies concluded in January that Moscow tried to tilt the election campaign in Trump's favor, including by hacking into and leaking the emails of senior Democrats.

Brennan reiterated that the Central Intelligence Agency detected in 2016 possible signs of collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials.

Brennan said, however, that he has not seen direct evidence to support that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, whether wittingly or unwittingly.

Former CIA Director John Brennan said Tuesday he personally warned Russia last summer against interfering in the US presidential campaign, telling the Russians that continued meddling would backfire and prevent any warming of relations after the election.

"I don't know whether or not such collusion - and that's your term - such collusion existed", Brennan said. Brennan responded, "I was anxious by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with USA persons".

Earlier this month, former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified that she expected White House officials to "take action" after warning that then-national security adviser Michael T. Flynn had misled administration officials about his contacts with Russian Federation.

In another development, Trump has retained Marc Kasowitz, a New York-based trial lawyer who has represented Trump in the past, as his private attorney for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian Federation matter, a Fox Business Network reporter said on Twitter. The FBI is also conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Moscow has denied the allegation.

Former CIA chief John Brennan offered a frank assessment of Russia's aggressive approach to meddling in the 2016 election and, in the process, complicated President Donald Trump's attempts to cast the whole thing as fake news.

Brennan became so alarmed by the Russian intervention last fall that he held classified meetings with top congressional officials to impress upon them the unprecedented nature of Moscow's interference.

While Brennan would not specifically identify any individuals associated with the Trump campaign who had contacts with Russian officials and would not opine as to whether there was any collusion or collaboration, he did tell lawmakers why he was concerned about the contacts occurring against the general background of Russian efforts to meddle in the election.

"I don't know. But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau (FBI) to determine whether or not United States persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials".

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, says The Washington Post's report that Trump tried to enlist the head of the National Security Agency and the national intelligence director to push the White House narrative is a "disturbing allegation" that Trump is interfering with the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. He said this was cause for concern "because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals, and it raised questions in my mind, again, whether or not the Russians were able to gain the co-operation of those individuals".

Brennan has feuded publicly with Trump over the president's treatment of intelligence agencies.

Chaffetz says he wants to determine whether the president attempted to influence or impede the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

With every statement like the one Brennan made today, it makes it that much harder for Trump to sell the "total hoax" storyline on Russia's meddling.

Coats said he and Trump "discuss a number of topics on a very regular basis" but "I don't feel it's appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president".

"This evidence, if true, goes to criminal intent and constitutes mounting evidence of obstruction of justice", Blumenthal added.

The Senate intelligence committee is seeking a narrower batch of documents and information from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn than the panel initially sought in a subpoena.


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