WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two former prime U.S. #intelligence officials stated on Sunday they worry President Donald #Trump is being #manipulated by Russian President Vladimir #Putin, after Trump stated he believed Putin was honest in denying Russian meddling within the 2016 election.
Former CIA Director John Brennan and ex-National Intelligence Director James Clapper each stated Trump was mishandling Moscow ties whilst a particular counsel investigates attainable collusion between Trump’s marketing campaign workforce and Russia.
“I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do, or what might come out as a result of these investigations… It’s either naiveté, ignorance or fear in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing vis-à-vis the Russians,” Brennan stated in an look with Clapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Clapper added that overseas leaders who roll out the pink carpet for Trump are capable of manipulate Trump.
“I do think both the Chinese and the Russians think they can play him,” Clapper stated.
Their feedback got here after Trump informed reporters over the weekend that he had spoken with Putin once more over allegations of Russian meddling within the presidential election and that the Russian president once more denied any involvement.
“I really believe that, when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump informed reporters. “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated on the identical present that the criticism leveled towards Trump’s administration of relations with Russia and China was “ridiculous.”
“President Trump is not getting played by anybody,” Mnuchin stated.
Trump additionally took a swipe at Obama-era intelligence officials Brennan, Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey, calling them “political hacks” and questioning the findings of a U.S. intelligence report that concluded that Russians sought to tilt the election in Trump’s favor.
Facing sharp criticism, Trump walked again from a few of these feedback on Sunday, saying he has religion within the intelligence leaders he has employed.
Brennan on Sunday referred to as Trump’s criticism of him a “badge of honor,” and Clapper recommended stated Trump’s denial of Russian interference within the election “poses a peril to the country.”
When requested, Brennan declined to say whether or not he is aware of of any intelligence to recommend that the Russians have compromising or damaging info on Trump.
A file penned by a former British spy incorporates unverified claims that Russia does have embarrassing info on Trump.