Former CIA Boss John Brennan Unsure of Collusion Between Trump Campaign & Russia

Former CIA boss John Brennan says doesn't know if there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals", Brennan said Tuesday at an open session of the House Intelligence Committee. The president has dismissed such a possibility, saying there is no evidence of collusion.

The panel, along a number of other congressional committees, the FBI, and a newly appointed special counsel, are conducting investigations into Russian meddling that include any potential links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and USA persons involved in the Trump campaign", he added.

"The goal was to ensure that experts in key agencies had access to information and intelligence relevant to Russian actions so that we could have as full an appreciation as possible on the scope, nature, and intentions of this Russian activity", Brennan said. Russian intelligence operatives won't identify themselves as Russians or as members of the Russian government; they will try to develop personal relationships with individuals and then over time, they will try to get those people to do things on their behalf, said Brennan. Brennan said he later briefed congressional leaders about the intelligence agencies' finding on Russian interference in August and September.

In addition, the country's top intelligence official, Dan Coats, declined to say, as reported by the Washington Post, whether Trump had asked him to publicly deny that any evidence exists on collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

"(Tuesday's) testimony by former CIA Director Brennan that the Russians brazenly interfered in our election, and that he became aware of interactions between Trump campaign officials and the Russians that warranted referral to the FBI further underscores the importance of our investigation", Schiff said.

The FBI is also conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Not only would interference damage relations between the two countries, he said, it was certain to backfire. Russian Federation has since repeatedly denied any interference in the election.

Brennan said Bortnikov denied that Russian Federation was meddling in the USA presidential election and said he would inform Putin of Brennan's comments.

Brennan said he was concerned about leaks from the president's Oval Office meeting with the Russian officials.

The former acting attorney general, Sally Yates, previously told Congress that the Justice Department was concerned that Flynn was compromised by the Russians and could be vulnerable to blackmail as Trump's national security adviser because of misleading statements he made to the vice president about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Trump in February fired Flynn over the misleading statements, but he has since defended Flynn and his integrity.

Russian Federation also sought to denigrate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and harm her election prospects and potential presidency, USA intelligence agencies found at the time.

Brennan said it is not unprecedented to share intelligence with Russian Federation or other partners.

Brennan said that while he was Central Intelligence Agency director he shared classified information with Russian Federation and other nations about threats related to terrorism.

"So, it appears as though, at least from the press reports, that neither did it go in the proper channels, nor did the originating agency have the opportunity to clear language for it. So, that is a problem", said Brennan.

USA intelligence agencies concluded in January that Moscow tried to tilt the election campaign in Trump's favor, including by hacking into and leaking the emails of senior Democrats.

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