After President Trump viciously attacked former CIA Director John Brennan in an Interview With Sean Hannity on Fox News on Wednesday night, the former intelligence agency chief accused the president and his defenders of choosing to play politics rather than accepting the obvious reality of the Mueller report’s statement that it “does not exonerate” Trump.
Brennan — who has been a vocal and frequent critic of the president — has been a target of Trump’s ire particularly since he denounced the president after his disastrous summit in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin. At the time, Brennan labeled Trump a traitor worthy of impeachment.
“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,’” Brennan tweeted at the time. “It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”
While speaking with Fox News’ Hannity on Wednesday, Trump mocked the former CIA Director’s predictions of his imminent ouster with a long harangue against Brennan.
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“I think Brennan’s a sick person, I really do,” Trump said. “I believe there’s something wrong with him…For him to come out of the CIA and act that way was so disrespectful to the country, and to the CIA, and to the position he held.
“He was not considered good at what he did. He was never a respected guy. Tough guy, but not a respected guy. But he lied to Congress. And the other night before the report came out, he predicted horrible things. The things he said were horrible.”
Today, Brennan addressed the president’s personal attacks on his reputation through a statement released by a spokesperson that denounced Trump’s complete mischaracterization of the pitifully inadequate summary of the Mueller report issued by his hand-picked Attorney General William Barr on Sunday, according to an article in Newsweek.
“Let’s not forget that the special counsel’s investigation resulted in indictments against 34 people and three entities on nearly 200 separate criminal charges,” Brennan’s spokesman told Newsweek.
“Five associates of the president have been convicted, and another is awaiting trial. Those who think nothing happened and who are now going after critics of the president aren’t accepting reality and they are just playing politics.”
Besides the convictions of Trump’s campaign associates, Brennan also pointed to the suspicious decision by Mueller to avoid reaching a conclusion on the subject of the president’s involvement in obstruction of justice, leaving Attorney General Barr to promptly decline to announce charges against Trump without providing any of the underlying evidence that led to his seemingly already-decided outcome.
“On the issue of obstruction of justice, Brennan believes it is too important to be dismissed by a Trump-appointed AG with a predetermined view on presidential accountability to the rule of law, and that we all need to see the report,” Brennan’s spokesman told Newsweek.
“As for the president and his own actions, Brennan will leave to others how it is possible that one can engage with a foreign power in a most unethical, unprincipled, and unpatriotic way without violating criminal statutes. But Mueller determined those actions weren’t illegal and Brennan fully accepts that.”
It was the final line that Brennan’s spokesperson delivered that encapsulated the level to which public expectations of presidential behavior have sunk. Stating that Americans should expect more of their president than the simple ability to escape criminal indictment, he said that “traits such as decency, honesty, integrity, and competence in our president sure would be nice.”
It seems like a majority of voters believed that during the last presidential election. Unfortunately, with a Russian propaganda campaign weighing heavily in specially targeted districts, Trump won exactly where he needed to win the electoral college votes that gave him the presidency despite the support of a minority of the country.
We can’t ever let that happen again.
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Original reporting by Shane Croucher at Newsweek.