CIA Director Mike Pompeo stands by U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, the agency said Saturday, despite President Donald Trump saying he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says his country didn't interfere. "You have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have [former FBI Director James] Comey". "And to impugn the character of somebody like Jim Clapper - on Veterans Day - who has dedicated so much of his life to this country, I just find that outrageous, and it's something I think that Mr. Trump should be ashamed of".
On Veterans Day, during a question and answer session with the press on Air Force One, President Donald Trump called the former CIA Director and former Director of National Intelligence 'political hacks'.
"I believe that he feels that he and Russian Federation did not meddle in the election", Trump clarified.
The CIA confirms allegations of Russia's interference in U.S. presidential elections previous year.
Brennan also fired back on Sunday against Trump's criticisms of him, Clapper, and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey as "political hacks".
"I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks", Trump said.
"And our president fosters that ambiguity", he said.
Trump was forced to walk back his comments, which appeared to put him at odds with USA intelligence agencies which concluded that Russian Federation did try to tamper with our election.
In response, Brennan said Trump is perhaps being manipulated by Putin.
To make things worse, Trump also stated that he believed Putin was honest when denying all allegations to the effect that he had orchestrated the Russian interference. So, it's very worrisome. Brennan responded that Trump's behavior sends a disturbing signal to America's allies and partners who are concerned about Russian interference in their democratic processes as well.
CNN host Jake Tapper asked Clapper if Obama made a mistake to not make a "bigger public deal" of the efforts at the time, but Clapper responded that hindsight fell into the "coulda, woulda, shoulda" department. "He said he didn't meddle", Trump said, referring to Putin. "I think ... the concern that the administration had was, if we did make a big public deal of this, would we first be amplifying what the Russians were doing? I had no direct evidence of collusion", Clapper said Sunday. "We did not write that assessment", Brennan shot back.
Putin has frequently praised Trump and Brennan appeared to allude to that Sunday, when he told Tapper that Trump "can be played" by anyone willing to cater to his ego. "President Trump was focused on some very important issues, which are North Korea and Syria".
"The director stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 intelligence community assessment entitled: 'Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections.' The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed".
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