Thread: John Brennan on Meet the (De)Press(ed)

1. I woke up early today to watch Manchester City crush Huddersfield Town in a Premier League soccer match. While checking today’s news program line-up, I noticed that John Brennan would make an appearance.
2. I wondered whether he would continue walking back his accusations of treason against @POTUS and decided to do a “delayed live-stream” report on the interview. Here is what I captured from the interview by Chuck Todd, with a couple of tidbits of commentary, too:
3. Chuck Todd began with his usual build-up painting @POTUS as a “crook-in-waiting,” this time with a Nixon twist about John Dean’s comments on “using the federal bureaucracy to screw our political opponents.”
4. Todd (T henceforth): “It’s not just Brennan but also Rice, Hayden, Yates, Strzok, Ohr, and others who are in “danger” of having their clearances stripped. Don McGahn has been fully cooperating with Mueller’s special counsel; is McGahn the new John Dean?”
5. The video set-up by another NBC hack was all anti-Trump (“75 former intel professionals support Brennan and worry about ‘stifling free speech’”). Reliable Deep Stater and #NeverTrumper Sen. Corker is trotted out with a comment about a “banana republic.”
6. David Cohen, Former Deputy CIA Director (under Obama and Brennan!) was quoted about being worried about pulling clearances of more “professionals.”

[Yeah, right; they want to retain access to leak classified info to protect the cabal!]
7. Brennan (B henceforth) was introduced as a former CIA director, but also NBC News national security correspondent (!) by Todd.

T: Trump claims revoking your clearance was not about silencing or punishing, but elevating you. Is that true?
8. B: Trump is sending a clear signal to others with clearances that “punishment” will come if one criticizes the Trump administration. Trump is not following the rules in revoking clearances.
9. T: nine other people in danger of losing their clearances (all Obama hacks). Why those people in particular?
10. B: singling out people who are critical of Trump (the only reason for revoking their clearances according to Brennan). Revoking Ohr’s (a mid-level career professional) is one of the most outrageous steps that Trump could take because Trump “doesn’t like them.”
10A. B: Antithetical to the normal process.

T: with Rachel Maddow, you talked about taking legal action?
11. B: I have talked to lawyers about getting an injunction to try to prevent him from doing that to others. If my clearances and reputation are trashed, it’s a small price to pay to put a stop to this “overreaching” by Trump. I will do whatever I can to prevent future abuses.
12. T: you have been over the top accord in your anti-Trump comments, according to several Republicans. Do you regret accusing the president of “treason”?

B: I called it “betraying one’s trust” and “aiding the enemy” and stand very much by those comments.
13. Todd: you’re a former CIA director, not some average citizen accusing the president of treason. That’s a monumental accusation.
14. B: these are abnormal times. A lot of people have spoken out about “what Mr. Trump has done,” and maybe it’s my warning to everyone. In my training as an intel professional, I have seen what Trump has done, and it’s bringing the US down on the global stage.
15. B: he’s fueling and feeding dissension within the country by lying to the American people. I need to speak out about these things. I don’t believe I’m being political (I am not a Democrat or a Republican).
16. Many others have spoken out in the past rather forcefully against whoever was in the Oval Office regardless of political party, so now as a private citizen, people think I shouldn’t speak out? I fundamentally disagree with that.
17. T: Sen. Burr (SSIC chairman) is quoted here: if Brennan is basing his remarks on something observed while he was CIA dir, why didn’t he get that into the intelligence assessment released in '17? If his statements are based on intelligence he has seen since leaving office, ….
17A. …then his statements are based on an intelligence breach. If his statement is purely political & based on conjecture, the president has full authority to revoke his security clrnc.

T: have you said anything in the “public sphere” that has gone beyond the facts you know?
18. B: I was disappointed by Burr’s statement. What I said in my oped is that because of what I have come to conclude via the free and open press (since leaving office), what actually was transpiring during the campaign in terms of the “meetings in Trump Tower” ….
18A. …and also the fact that Trump called for the Russians to “find Hillary’s emails”, etc. I made a point in the oped that collusion is one thing, but conspiracy is something else. I think that all Americans need to let Mueller complete his investigation to get to the bottom….
18B. … of whether there was anything criminal there. I’ve spoken out about his lack of civility and decency and honesty and character and will continue to do that because I have always revered the office of the presidency and that Trump is letting millions of Americans down.
19. T: if you, as a sitting CIA director, worked for a president that “did this (revoked a clearance of a previous CIA director),” what would you do? What advice would you give to Gina Haspel?
20. B: I admire and respect Dir. Haspel. I want her to stay as director because I want the agency to be protected from this very, very abusive White House and President Trump.

T: Would you go along with revoking the clearance?
21. B: We all have to do what our consciences tell us to do. And Dan Coats, who I also respect, if I was in one of those positions, I would express my “deep, deep objections” to Trump & have a conversation with him about just how bad this is for community and the nat’l security.
22 B: I would have to decide then whether I could stay in my position.

T: So you would understand if someone objected but still stayed in their position and be a “guard rail” going forward as opposed to a public whistle-blower?
23. B: other officials are trying to reconcile whether they can “tolerate” Trump’s behavior and whether by implication they should leave. John Kelly, (WH COS) whom I know and respect, is almost certainly trying to keep Trump from “doing terrible things.”
24. But at some point these senior officials have to decide whether they are “enabling this abusive and reckless behavior” or not. If they decide that they can’t help curtail the behavior, I think they have to leave.
25. T: have you heard from Haspel or Coats since having your clearances pulled?
26. B: I haven’t heard anything from anyone in government; only from former friends and colleagues expressing their support. I was not notified and have not heard from anyone officially – and I am not surprised given this WH.
27. T: realistically, what does this mean? That Haspel can’t call you and talk to you about your job? Is that really what your clearance was for?
28. B: for me, it also means that I just can’t go into the agency and have conversations with people who may want to ask me questions – which I have had happen in the last couple of months (!). Others server on BODs whose companies require them to have security clearances.
29. B: This can have a punitive financial hit on them. Giving up my clearance in order to bring this issue to a head – I am willing to do this. I will fight to keep this unpoliticized, and members of Congress need to step up and do what’s best for the country.
30. T: when you speak up as former CIA director, people listen. You have gone farther than most about the Russia probe and collusion and conspiracy.

B: Not on conspiracy, Chuck, just collusion.
31. T: You haven’t agreed with Michael Hayden about whether the dots are connected to collusion yet, so why are you ready to connect those dots?
32. B: I am just point out what is in plain sight, what we have read and seen over the past 18 months. The things that have come out, the people who have admitted to wrong-doing. This is what speaks to collusion.
33. B: It is going to be up to Mueller to determine whether any of this rises to the level of conspiracy. Whether Trump had intimate knowledge of this. But there is no doubt that “collusion” took place between individual Americans and Russians.
34. B: Whether this is going to trigger any kind of criminal indictment is something else entirely. I’ve never put forth any thoughts about conspiracy, but collusion – I don’t think Trump has made a secret of this.
35. T: when will you file a lawsuit to get an injunction to prevent further revocations of clearances (of former Obama officials)?
36. B: A lot of people are looking at this. I am looking at options and will join the fight if necessary. I love this country and don’t want to see it go down because Trump has failed to live up to his presidential responsibilities.
37. End of Brennan interview. But there was a chaser, an interview of Rudy Giuliani, attorney for @POTUS! Here we go….
38. In setting up the Giuliani interview, Todd quotes NYT report that WH counsel has cooperated extensively with Mueller’s obstruction inquiry and that Robert McGahn reported offered inside insights into Trump’s “mindset” as he fired FBI Director Comey.
38A. Todd tries to pit Trump against McGahn and vice versa.

T: Let’s start with the NYT story. The previous legal team wanted to fully cooperate with Mueller; you and Emmett Flood have wanted to put more parameters around what Mueller can and should do.
39. T: Would you have recommended the amount of cooperation that Don McGahn has given to Mueller had you been Trump’s attorney from the beginning?

G: you’re talking about different stages of the investigation.
40. G: Early on, they allowed 32 witnesses to testify, produced over 1.2 million documents, and didn’t enact “executive privilege” to bar access to anything. The original agreement was to have all this access so that “Mueller could conclude his investigation quickly.”
41. G: If I had known that Mueller would drag it out (and by implication, break the agreement), I might have chosen a different strategy. They don’t need to question Trump because they had all that access.
42. T: doesn’t it look like you’re afraid of something by not letting Trump testify? The SC has an eye witness (McGahn) on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice. Doesn’t that underscore why the SC has to talk to the president?
43. G: No, it does not. We have a sense of what McGahn testified. John Dowd (WH lawyer) stated that McGahn was a strong witness for the president. We would stipulate that the president did nothing wrong regarding firing Comey, that he wasn’t involved in collusion or obstruction.
44. G: The SC has yet to give us a question where there is not already an answer by @POTUS. The only reason they could want the president is because they are desperate for some kind of charge they can hang their hat on because they don’t have anything on collusion or conspiracy.
45. T: how do you know they don’t?

G: This whole McGahn thing leaked from the SC! If they had some kind of evidence that there was collusion or obstruction, don’t you think it would have been leaked? They leak everything else?
46. T: let’s talk about collusion. The Trump Tower meeting itself is evidence that you better investigate. How is it not?

G: because the meeting was originally for the purpose of getting info about Hillary Clinton, but the meeting turned into something else.
47. T: you just said it, the meeting was intended to get dirt on Clinton (“collusion”).

G: The meeting turned out to be about another subject that was not pursued at all. Any meeting to get info on an opponent is something any candidate would take.
48. T: From the Russians?

G: she (Veselnitskaya) was a private citizen not representing the Russian government! This is much ado about nothing. Trump wasn’t even present!
49. T: Do you believe that someone stole emails from John Podesta and leaked them to Wikileaks?

G: I believe that someone got those emails, and reports I’ve read say that it was Russians who did the hacking.
50. T: So you agree it’s important for Mueller to get to the bottom of that, no?

G: Of course, but he’s had months to do that. This is a desperate SC who leaked the McGahn interview (and spun it wrongly) to the NYT because they’ve got nothing on Trump.
51. T: do you have any evidence that Mueller leaked it to the NYT?

G: The only other person who could have done it was McGahn. It would be McGahn or the SC. They have to write a report and they don’t have a single bit of evidence about Trump doing anything wrong.
52. T: aren’t you and the president to blame for Mueller’s delayed report? Can’t you speed up Mueller’s report if Trump sits down with Mueller?
53. G: Several letters going back and forth between the SC and WH legal counsel; the ball is now in Mueller’s court, and they’re delaying their letter response for unknown reason. It’s the SC’s problem, not ours. They take 2-3 weeks to get back to us.
54. G: I am not going to rush Trump to testify in a perjury trap. We have a credibility gap between what Comey says and what the president says about the firing. And prior conduct (by Comey) cannot be brought into the question of deciding what the truth is.
55. T: If Mueller doesn’t get this done by 1 Sep, you said you’re going to unload on him like a ton of bricks. What does that mean?

G: For interfering in the upcoming election when he had no reason to do that when it could have been resolved much earlier.
56. We are going to point out to the public how Mueller has acted improperly by violating Justice Dept rules about not carrying on a public investigation within 60 days of an election, especially if Mueller chooses to issue an indictment of the president!
57. G: I need to address the comments that Brennan made earlier – an outrageous charge of treason against the president, and at the same time that he has no evidence that the president is guilty of conspiracy.
58. G: This man accuses people of a crime carrying a death penalty and is totally unhinged character that shouldn’t even have a security clearance!
59. End of the interviews! Enough for me; I can’t tolerate a stacked panel discussion that focuses on attacking the president. My 2 cents: Todd is a paid Deep State propagandist, Brennan knows he’s in deep trouble, and Mueller has nothing on @POTUS. ///The end.

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