Ex-CIA Chief Warns: 'Donald Trump Can Be Played' By Dictators

Authoritarian foreign leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin are taking advantage of President Trump’s weaknesses to get what they want from the United States, according to former CIA Director John Brennan.

The Huffington Post reported that on Sunday, Brennan blasted Trump for denying that Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election. U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Putin of ordering last summer’s cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and spreading “fake news’ on social media during the presidential race. The Justice Department is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded in those efforts.

The president said Saturday that Putin had assured him that Russia “absolutely did not meddle in our election,” adding: “He did not do what they are saying he did. 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. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’”

Brennan fired back on CNN: “By not confronting the issue directly, and not acknowledging to Putin that we know that you’re responsible for this, I think he’s giving Putin a pass. And 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 to try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national-security standpoint.”

The ex-CIA chief continued: “I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump’s interest in being flattered. And, also, 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. So, it’s very worrisome. And I think it sends a worrisome, very disturbing signal to our allies and partners who are concerned about Russian interference in their democratic processes as well. So, it’s either naivete, ignorance or fear, in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing vis-a-vis the Russians.”

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who appeared on the program with Brennan, declared: “I do think both the Chinese and the Russians think they can play him.” Clapper alleged that Trump’s refusal to recognize Russian election tampering “poses a peril to this country.” Evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign is mounting, according to the former top spy, who cited a meeting during the White House race at Trump Tower where Donald Trump Jr. sat down with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who claimed to have incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

Trump dismissed the criticism, describing Brennan, Clapper and other Obama administration intelligence officials as “political hacks.” Later, after coming under fire from Republicans as well as Democrats, the president walked back the statement. “I believe very much in our intelligence agencies,” he said.

Trump, who repeated his call for a closer relationship with Russia, has frequently praised Putin. He also has expressed admiration for other dictators like Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte. The president tweeted during the weekend that he wanted to be a friend of Kim Jong-un. However, in the same message, he ridiculed the North Korean ruler as “short and fat.”

Source: HuffPost, CNN
Photo: YouTube

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