Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Former head of Central Intelligence Agency says it knew of Trump team's Moscow links


Former CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday it became clear last summer that Russian Federation was attempting to interfere in the United States presidential election, and that he warned the head of Russia's FSB security service that such interference would hurt U.S. ties.

Former CIA chief Brennan's testimony to the House intelligence committee was the clearest public indication yet of the significance the Russian Federation contacts play in counterintelligence investigations that continue to hang over the White House. Attorneys for Flynn say that a daily "escalating public frenzy against him" and the Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel has created a legally risky environment for him to cooperate with a Senate investigation.

Meanwhile, a Senate committee has issued two additional subpoenas to businesses of ousted Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, one of several key figures in the Russia-Trump campaign probe, and sent a letter to his lawyer questioning his basis for claiming a Fifth Amendment right not to provide documents.

Hours later, Rep. Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on the House oversight committee, said government documents he's reviewed showed inconsistencies in Flynn's disclosures to US investigators in early 2016 during his security clearance review.

The Senate intelligence committee is seeking a narrower batch of documents and information from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn than the panel initially sought in a subpoena.

Mr. Coats was asked if he had discussed with Adm. Rogers any request from Mr. Trump regarding collusion.

"Everything is on the table", Burr said.

As well, The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump asked two top intelligence chiefs in March to deny publicly that there had been collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

"I encountered and became aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and USA persons involved in the Trump campaign", Brennan said.

Cummings said Flynn appeared to have misled authorities about the source of a $33,000 payment from Russia's state-sponsored television network, failed to identify foreign officials with whom he met - including Russia's President Vladimir Putin - and glossed over his firing as chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration.

Brennan told the House intelligence committee on Tuesday that he was the first USA official to call out the Russians for their activities.

Flynn's response stressed that his decision to invoke his constitutional protection was not an admission of wrongdoing but rather a response to a political climate in which Democratic members of Congress are calling for his prosecution.

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Task Force.

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He says that last summer he was increasingly concerned that Russian officials were perhaps trying to enlist the cooperation of people in the Trump campaign. "It raised questions in my mind about whether Russian Federation was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals". Brennan said the CIA focuses on intelligence, not "evidence", and he was not able to answer that question.

Republicans on the committee pushed Brennan about whether there was evidence of collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, a point President Donald Trump has tried to enlist allies to quash.

Brennan says that Russian protests that they are not working with WikiLeaks and WikiLeaks protests that they are not working with the Russians are both "disingenuous".

Former CIA Director John Brennan says he warned Russia against meddling in the presidential election during a call to the head of the Russian intelligence service on August 4.

On another intelligence matter, Brennan said that while he was CIA director he shared classified information with Russian Federation and other nations about threats related to terrorism. Chaffetz said this week that he's stepping aside from Congress next month during the prime of his career and just as.

He said he had personally told a senior Russian security official that continued meddling would backfire and prevent any warming of relations after the election.

MARGARET WARNER: Late past year, the Obama administration ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies over the election meddling.

He left his position at the WilmerHale law firm, whose clients include former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Coats could face questions on the report Tuesday when he is scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Trump's national security leadership has said repeatedly that Russian Federation is among the top threats because of its cyber capabilities.

Coats told senators at a Senate hearing that it would be inappropriate to discuss private conversations he'd had with the president.

Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to end an investigation into Mr. Flynn, his former national security adviser, according to people close to Mr. Comey.

Brennan was also asked about Trump's disclosure of highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting this month.

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in rebuffing a subpoena Monday in the investigation into Russia's election meddling.

With Trump himself in the Mideast on his first foreign trip as president, investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign - and allegations of Trump campaign collaboration - showed no sign of slackening in Washington.

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