President Trump is “obsessed” with former CIA chief John Brennan and is seeking “vengeance,” according to a stirring new report in Politico.
Because of this, reporters Natasha Bertrand (aka Fusion Natasha) and Daniel Kippman say the president is on “a collision course” with the Justice Department’s ongoing probe of the intelligence community’s “actions” in 2016.
AG Barr and John Durham, the federal prosecutor he appointed to conduct the investigation, have recently made some overseas trips to meet with officials in countries that helped the Obama administration spy on the Trump campaign—and this fact is making many current and former intelligence officials very nervous, it appears.
They should be. US attorney John Durham, who recently expanded his investigation, is in the process of requesting interviews from both Brennan and former DNI James Clapper, according to multiple reports.
Barr has said little in public about the investigation, but it reportedly centers on FBI and CIA activities before and during the Trump-Russia collusion investigation. Durham is also reportedly looking into what involvement foreign governments might have had in intelligence-gathering against Trump associates.
But according to Bertrand and Kippman, Barr and Durham are just investigating a “conspiracy theory for which there is little if any evidence.”
The “conspiracy theory” being investigated is the wacky idea that “a key player in the Russia probe, a professor named Joseph Mifsud, was actually a Western intelligence asset sent to discredit the Trump campaign — and that the CIA, under Brennan, was somehow involved.”
Who would ever think such a thing?
Rather than retreating into a life of quiet retirement after Trump was elected, John Brennan quickly became a leader of “the Resistance,” firing off scores of scathing, name-calling tweets hammering the president. He also became a commentator for NBC News and MSNBC where he routinely accused Trump of being a “Russian asset” and a multitude of other sins “without evidence.”
“Your feelings of inferiority, insecurity, vulnerability, and culpability are loud & clear. You remind me of how many corrupt authoritarian leaders abroad behaved before they were deposed. Bob Mueller’s name will be revered in the annals of U.S. history; your name will be scorned,” he tweeted in November of 2018.
On March 20, he wrote: “Hmmm…your bizarre tweets and recent temper tantrums reveal your panic over the likelihood the Special Counsel will soon further complicate your life, putting your political & financial future in jeopardy. Fortunately, Lady Justice does not do NDAs.”
After the Mueller report came out a few days later, Brennan was forced to backtrack on his predictions that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report would topple Trump.
“Well, I don’t know if I received bad information but I think I suspected there was more than there actually was,” Brennan sheepishly stammered on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I am relieved that it’s been determined there was not a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government over our election.”
The next day he was back to attacking the president.
“While Trump Campaign engagements with the Russians were highly inappropriate, we need to accept Special Counsel Mueller’s finding that evidence of criminality was not established,” Brennan tweeted.
He followed with: “The obstruction of justice issue, however, is too important to be dismissed by a Trump-appointed AG with a predetermined view on Presidential accountability to the rule of law. We need to see the Report.”
Back in August, Brennan warned Trump in an ominous tweet that it is only because of Attorney General William Barr and Senate Republicans that he is not in a world of “trouble & hurt and that the “protective cocoon” surrounding him is “only temporary.”
In tweet after tweet and in countless media appearances, Brennan has gone on the attack, calling Trump everything from a “charlatan” to “a disgraced demagogue.”
But according to Bertrand and Kippman, President Trump is the one who has the obsession.
Trump, meanwhile, has become “obsessed” with Brennan, who frequently gets under the president’s skin by publicly questioning his mental acuity and fitness for office, according to a former White House official. On Brennan, “it was always, ‘he’s an idiot, he’s a crook, we ought to investigate him,’” this person said, characterizing Trump’s outbursts.
Since the beginning of his presidency, Trump has also repeatedly attacked Brennan publicly, tweeting about the former CIA director more than two dozen times. He’s questioned Brennan’s mental acuity and called him a liar, a leaker and blamed him for having “detailed knowledge of the (phony) Dossier,” a reference to the raw intelligence reports on Trump’s alleged Russia ties by British former MI-6 officer Christopher Steele. He also tried to unilaterally strip Brennan of his security clearance—a process the White House reportedly never went through with — and urged the House to call him in for questioning.
In other words, Brennan should be able to engage in political dirty tricks and say whatever he wants about Trump publicly, and Trump should not be able to respond.
If the president has an actual “obsession,” it is with holding all of the officials involved in the deep state coup accountable for their wrongdoing so such a thing never happens again.
Perhaps because that’s what Durham and Barr are in the process of doing, those former officials and their mouthpieces in the media are still clinging to discredited Russia hoax conspiracy theories, hoping that they can swing public opinion against whatever the Trump DOJ’s investigation rustles up.
For example, here is how Bertrand and Kippman describe the FBI’s election year investigation into the Trump campaign.
The FBI launched its counterintelligence probe after learning that a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, was offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton from a Russian proxy — Mifsud — and had told an Australian diplomat about it. Australian officials tipped off their American counterparts to Papadopoulos’s admission, though it’s still unclear who was initially tipped off, and that’s reportedly a subject of Barr’s investigation. The bureau then flew former FBI agent Peter Strzok over to London to interview Alexander Downer and an associate about his interactions with Papadopoulos.
Interesting take—especially since the writers describe Mifsud as “a Russian proxy,” (a person authorized to act on behalf of Russia). That contention is—to use a favorite term of corporate media—”without evidence.”
It would be nice if the people saying that Mifsud was acting on behalf of Russia offered some evidence for that claim, but to date, no evidence has been presented to support it, including in the Mueller report, which vaguely asserted—without evidence—that he was “linked to Russia,” while conveniently skipping over his extensive links to Western intelligence agencies.
Laughably, the reporters then go on to say that Papadopoulos “without evidence” claimed that Mifsud is a a western intelligence plant.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his relationship with Mifsud, but he has since claimed, without evidence, that the professor was actually an intelligence plant sent by the CIA to entrap him and give the FBI an excuse to open an investigation.
For some reason, Brennan apologists seem to be very resistant to the idea that the Maltese professor might have been a Western asset. But investigative reporters who have examined Mifsud’s resume and travels—including the Hill’s John Solomon, RealClearInvestigation’s Lee Smith, and most recently the Washington Times’ Rowan Scarborough—have concluded that the “skilled networker” is far more wedded to the West than to the East.
In May 2017, 10 months into the FBI Russia conspiracy probe, Mr. Mifsud spoke in Riyadh at a high-powered terrorism conference. On his panel was counterterrorism expert Michael Hurley, who led CIA officers in Afghanistan in 2001 and served as senior counsel on the 9/11 Commission. Former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter also spoke.
… photos and news clips, such as those from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, show him hobnobbing with NATO military personnel, retired American and British intelligence officers, French officials at the Elysee Palace and State Department diplomats on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Mifsud made his money by managing and lecturing from operating bases at five European outposts noted for their contacts with Western governments:
⦁ Malta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
⦁ The now-defunct London Academy of Diplomacy, as director of international strategic development working with the British Foreign Office.
⦁ The London Center for International Law Practice (LCILP), where Papadopoulos briefly worked.
⦁ As founding president of Euro Mediterranean University in Slovenia.
⦁ As an instructor at Link Campus University, a for-profit school for government leaders in Rome. Link University is tied to a number of Italian officials.
Mifsud is known to have “frequented Rome and London for years and engaged at the highest levels of Western diplomatic and intelligence circles,” Solomon reported at the Hill.
Mifsud’s lawyer told Solomon that Mifsud was a “longtime cooperator of western intel” who was asked specifically by his contacts at Link University in Rome and the London Center of International Law Practice (LCILP) — two academic groups with ties to Western diplomacy and intelligence — to meet with Papadopoulos at a dinner in Rome in mid-March 2016.”
Meanwhile, evidence that Mifsud was a Russian spy includes …
Nothing. There is no evidence. But we’re supposed to believe the self-serving claims these former Obama officials who were involved in the highly improper and possibly illegal surveillance of a political campaign—and their media lackeys anyway.
According to the Politico report, the former officials are saying “the president’s allies are setting themselves up for disappointment” because even though the DOJ investigation will find that “mistakes” were made, it will not be able to conclude that they were done for “nefarious purposes.”
“Is the IG report going to say we made mistakes? Yes,” said one of the former officials. “But it won’t say we did so for some nefarious purpose. So the report will be a dry hole for Trump and his supporters. Which is why [Barr and Durham] have now gone to this other theory, positing that the CIA was engaged in some rogue operation to overthrow Trump and therefore feeding the FBI bullshit,” he said. “It’s complete nonsense.”
“Haven’t you heard?” said another former FBI official, sarcastically. “Brennan was a puppet-master and we were just his puppets.”
Asked for comment, White House deputy press Secretary Hogan Gidley offered a take that completely baffled the reporters: “John Brennan lied before Congress when he got caught spying on American citizens and lied about having Russian collusion evidence that never existed. The only way I’ve ever heard anyone in the White House mention him is as a punchline.”
“It’s not clear what Gidley was referring to—Brennan has not been accused of lying to Congress,” Bertrand and Kippman reported.
In written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Brennan in May of 2017 falsely claimed that he had briefed each member of the so-called Gang of Eight about “Russian attempts to interfere in the election” between August 11, 2016 and September 6, 2016.
At the time, the Gang of Eight—congressional leaders who are briefed on classified intelligence matters by the executive branch—was comprised of Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
“Again, in consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership,” Brennan wrote. “I provided the same briefing to each Gang of Eight member. Given the highly sensitive nature of what was in what was an active counterintelligence case, involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.”
After his meeting with Brennan, Reid fired off a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding an investigation into “the questions raised” in the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier.
Last summer, Rep. Devin Nunes told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that he and former Speaker Paul Ryan were never told about the Steele Dossier, which contained allegations about Russian interference and contacts with the Trump campaign.
“The CIA has mostly come clean about its activities during the 2016 election,” Nunes said. “The only one who has questions to answer is John Brennan,” he added. “We now know that John Brennan briefed Harry Reid on the dossier in August of 2016,” Nunes said. “At the same time, he never briefed me or Paul Ryan, who was the Speaker of the House at the time.”
Short on facts, Bertrand and Kippman were able to dish up some great quotes from nervous former spooks.
“Any investigation into John Brennan by this corrupt administration must — on its face — be viewed with a minimum with maximum skepticism,” said former CIA spokesman George Little. “The intelligence community deserves the respect of the president and his Cabinet, not politically motivated investigations.”
Another source supposedly “close to the White House” said the president has been “warned repeatedly by smart legal minds around him to stay out of” the investigation.
He told the reporters that “a big chunk of the Barr-Durham investigation” is believed to involve “top Obama administration officials, including Brennan.”
As well it should.