Secondly, I feel very honored to be associated with Jim Clapper and Jim Comey in the same category. "As to whether I believe it or not, I am with our agencies, especially as now constituted with the leadership".
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Owen Brennan jumped to the defense of his former U.S. intelligence colleague and highly decorated war veteran James R. Clapper, Jr., former Director of National Intelligence, in an interview following U.S. President Donald Trump's stinging reference to the top former intelligence officials - including former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James Comey - as "political hacks".
Trump has sought to confute the USA intelligence community's conclusions that Russian Federation, under Putin's specific orders, meddled in the 2016 United States Presidential Election to favor Trump and discredit the Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.
While giving credence to Putin's denials of involvement, Trump simultaneously insinuated that there is doubt about the findings of USA intelligence agencies, which have, in fact, determined conclusively that Russian Federation meddled in the elections.
"Well, I think we were prepared", Brennan said, going on to say he believed the pushback against the Russians at the time impressed upon them there would be "very serious consequences".
"He said he didn't meddle".
Clapper said that although he had "no direct evidence of collusion" while still on the job, he did not know about former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos' activities, which were revealed last month in unsealed court documents. I just asked him again.
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Putin's press secretary denies that Putin and Trump had ever discussed Russia's involvement in the election, but the two have met, and seemed friendly, a few times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election.
Trump has repeatedly questioned the conclusion of top intelligence agencies that Russian Federation conducted a sophisticated effort to tip last year's election in Trump's favor. "President Trump is not getting played by anybody".
Mr. Trump also lashed out on Twitter against the "haters", saying Russian Federation can be a valuable partner in fighting terrorism and solving problems in Ukraine, Syria and North Korea.
"I do believe in my heart that the men and women of the intelligence community will continue to convey truth to power, even if the power ignores the truth", said Clapper. "And to try to paint it in any other way is, I think, astounding and, in fact, poses a peril to this country". "I think he's very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country".
"Considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor", Brennan said.
Trump has long cast doubt on the intelligence community's findings on Russian Federation, and he has pushed back forcefully on its conclusion that the Kremlin mounted the effort specifically to help Trump's campaign and hurt that of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. "He did not do what they are saying he did", Trump told reporters on Saturday. Trump called Comey a "liar" and a "leaker" and suggested Putin's credibility was stronger than theirs. Clapper "responded to the call of his country to go to Vietnam, flew in over 70 combat support missions over Vietnam, and like Sen".