Further revealing who and what he is, former CIA Director John Brennan recently produced a New York Times op-ed that took something President Donald Trump once said, made it sound like something he did not say, and on the basis of this laughable evidence of nothing much, said Mr. Trump colluded with the Russians.
For Mr. Trump to deny it, Brennan told us, is “hogwash,” which is something Brennan himself seems to bathe in at night and drink for breakfast in the morning. In this article, written in response to Mr. Trump’s taking away a retirement security clearance allowing probes of the nation’s deepest secrets, he pretty much makes a case against himself.
What it all comes down to, Brennan says, is Trump once talking about Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.
These were emails used on her private email server when she was secretary of state and subpoenaed by Congress to see if any of them contained classified material. An aide then destroyed them. The Clinton claim was that they were all private and only about such innocent matters as yoga and grandchildren. If the computer had been hacked prior to the aide’s tidying things up, and if they showed Clinton was lying, they would also be proof of obstruction of justice.
Mr. Trump, in jabbering about all of this in his usual back-and-forth, undirected way at a press conference, said the Russians might have these emails and should find and share them if they did, which is not what Brennan wrote.
He said the president was encouraging Russia to “collect intelligence” on her, which is absurd. If Russia had the emails, the collecting had already been done, and if Clinton were telling the truth, the intelligence would be about grandchildren. Brennan then said Trump was thereby “authorizing his followers” to work with the Russians, which is a [befuddling] leap… What Trump did, says Brennan, was a “public clarion call” making one wonder what Trump told his cohorts in private. Maybe he said obstruction of justice is illegal.
While you can still argue Mr. Trump should have [kept quiet], he also said any Russian hacking would only happen under a weak Obama administration, meaning it would not happen under a Trump administration. Such context is important, as in the career of Brennan.
Consider, for instance, how he worked with President Barack Obama in killing terrorists with drones that were also killing civilians, despite Brennan’s comforts to the contrary. The CIA spied on Senate staffers, and Brennan employed prevarication on that issue of unconstitutionality, too. Deeply involved in urging a Russia collusion probe, Brennan testified he did not know things about the misleading Russian dossier he almost had to know.
Brennan has been a screeching, anti-Trump foe from the word go. For example, he accused Trump of treason when the president said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence agencies on U.S. election interference. Treason is assassination, a coup or taking up arms on the enemy’s side. Trump was mainly being dumb, and Brennan scurried to catch up.
In like spirit, some Brennan supporters are saying Trump is denying Brennan free speech by punishing him. Brennan is all over [the media], his lips more stretched in anger than quivering in fear, and there happen to be protocols connecting security clearance with discretion and sound judgment. It can in fact be abused to the point of felonious leaks threatening to drown our democracy, although, yes, there are pluses and Trump should not strip it from other retirees as a partisan weapon.
Meanwhile, a dozen former CIA directors have appeared to be Brennan bros as they have supported a fellow elitist. But then there’s James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, who said Brennan was as subtle as “a freight train” and that his rhetoric was itself an issue. I’d argue that Brennan is not your usual freight train, but one that runs on hogwash.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.