Brennan: Trump called us hacks to delegitimize intelligence report

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Former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

"Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy and our whole process", former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union.

"By not confronting the issue directly and not acknowledging to Putin that we know you are responsible for this, I think he's giving Putin a pass", Brennan said, according to The Washington Examiner.

"I'm with our agencies, especially as now constituted with their leadership", Trump said during the news conference held jointly with Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump called former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper "political hacks" on Saturday for disagreeing with his friendly stance toward Russian Federation.

Former intelligence chiefs said Sunday it is "astounding" that President Trump refuses to forcefully condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin over findings that Moscow interfered in last year's election.

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During Trump's trip to Asia, Trump told reporters that he believed Putin was being honest when he said at a meeting Saturday in Danang, Vietnam, that Russian Federation had not interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election.

"He said he didn't meddle".

"I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump's interest in being flattered".

However, the president has suggested it is more important to work with Russian Federation, explaining to reporters, "I can't stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine". We're just a small team working extra-hard to help you cut to the chase on the most important news from around the world, so we'd appreciate your help spreading the word. I just asked him again.

"He said he didn't meddle. He did not do what they are saying he did".

His statement was troubling, all the more so since multiple US intelligence groups-including the C.I.A. and F.B.I. -agree that Russian Federation probably did influence the outcome of the election.

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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.

Trump's treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, dismissed the concerns of Clapper and Brennan, and downplayed the issue of Russian interference.

They also defended each other. "I don't know, but there were good reasons why there was caution and discretion here".

On Saturday, Mr. Trump labeled the former heads of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as "hacks" whose judgment he questioned on the matter of Russian meddling. Trump called Comey a "liar" and a "leaker" and suggested Putin's credibility was stronger than theirs.

Trump's attacks on Clapper, Comey and Brennan as "political hacks" are part of his effort to delegitimize the intelligence community's assessment, said Brennan.

He added that he felt "honored" to be associated with Clapper and Comey, and "considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor".

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"And third, I found it particularly reprehensible that on Veterans Day Donald Trump would attack and impugn the integrity and the character of Jim Clapper".

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