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Former CIA director: Trump-Putin press conference “nothing short of treasonous”

John Brennan: “Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Former CIA director John Brennan called Trump’s performance at their joint press conference “nothing short of treasonous.”
Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images
Dylan Scott covers health care for Vox. He has reported on health policy for more than 10 years, writing for Governing magazine, Talking Points Memo and STAT before joining Vox in 2017.

John Brennan, the CIA director under President Obama, didn’t mince words in describing Monday’s press conference with President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin: Trump’s performance was “nothing short of treasonous.”

“High crimes and misdemeanors” are, you will recall, the constitutional standard for impeaching the president of the United States.

During the press conference, Trump said he trusted Putin over the American intelligence community and his own appointees, he attacked the investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller that recently led to the indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers for crimes related to the 2016 election, and he said he hoped to strengthen relations with Russia — which, according to Trump, had never been worse.

Brennan has often criticized Trump since he left the agency, and he has used the t-word before. From his May 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee:

Testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, Brennan said that Russia “brazenly interfered” in the 2016 elections and had been in active contact with members of the Trump campaign. Brennan was careful to avoid explicitly saying that the two sides colluded, and said the Trump aides may not have even known the Russians were spies. Then he dropped the hammer.

”Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late,” he said.

While that statement seemed to still lend some benefit of the doubt to Trump and his associates, Brennan clearly felt responding to Monday’s press conference required stronger language.