Former Top Intelligence Chiefs: Trump Being 'Played' By Putin

CIA director stands by intel community assessment Russia meddled in election

CIA director stands by intel community assessment Russia meddled in election

The situation has been further exacerbated after Trump claimed that Putin was "insulted" and irritated by repeated questions of Russian meddling in the election.

WASHINGTON ― Two former top US intelligence officials on Sunday denounced President Donald Trump's repeated refusal to definitively affirm Russian meddling in the 2016 election, saying the president is being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. They're political hacks. So you look at it - I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. "It demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and to try to play upon his insecurities which is very very worrisome from a national security standpoint".

Clapper, a CNN analyst, was responding to Trump's mixed comments about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. "And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with that".

However, the president has suggested it is more important to work with Russian Federation, explaining to reporters, "I can't stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine".

Brennan said Putin's apparent success with Trump was due to his use of flattery and Brennan's suspicion that Trump "for whatever reason" might be "intimidated" by Putin.

Clapper agreed: "It's very clear that the Russians interfered in the election, and it's still puzzling as to why Mr. Trump does not acknowledge that and embrace it and also push hard against Mr. Putin".

That wasn't the first time Trump accepted Putin's account about election interference.

The President stressed he was not accepting Putin's denials at face value, instead saying he merely believed Putin was being genuine.

"I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks", Trump said.

After receiving backlash, Trump said he believes the intelligence agencies.

Brennan is discussing the extent of Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election and possible ties to the campaign of President Donald Trump.

"The president called the both of you and [former] FBI Director James Comey political hacks", Tapper stated.

Tapper pointed to Clapper saying there was no "template", asking Brennan if the intelligence community was sufficiently prepared given prior Russian efforts to meddle in other countries' democratic processes. Putin denies the accusations, and Trump has wavered publicly on his own stance.

"To try to paint it in any other way is astounding and poses a peril", Mr. Clapper told CNN's "State of the Union".

The Obama-era Central Intelligence Agency chief added that he took the criticism from Trump with pride.

"I don't know why the ambiguity about this, because the threat posed by Russian Federation, as John just said, is manifest and obvious and has been for a long time", said Clapper. "Comey is proven now to be a liar and he's proven to be a leaker", he added, also referencing former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

"I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump's interest in being flattered".

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