If Trump thought his vindictive move of stripping former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance was going to quiet a vocal critic, Brennan has shattered those hopes.
In a scathing op-ed in Thursday’s New York Times, Brennan elevated his denunciation of Trump’s authoritarian ways and stressed he believes Trump, as the Republican nominee for president in 2016, Trump colluded with Russian forces to win the election.
“Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash,” Brennan writes.
“While I had deep insight into Russian activities during the 2016 election, I now am aware — thanks to the reporting of an open and free press — of many more of the highly suspicious dalliances of some American citizens with people affiliated with the Russian intelligence services,” Brennan wrote.
The op-ed represents an escalation on the part of the former CIA director, and it comes just one day after he was officially put on Trump’s Enemies List.
Brennan in the past had often focused his criticism of Trump on his un-presidential public behavior. Brennan bemoaned how Trump demeaned the office of the presidency and weakened U.S. democracy with his power grabs.
“There is consistent incoherence in the policy which certainly unnerves our allies and partners,” Brennan warned after Trump walked away from U.S. nuclear deal with Iran. “I really don’t understand it.”
Brennan has tweeted that Trump’s behavior is comparable to “narcissistic, vengeful autocrats.”
And earlier this year when Republicans were trying to openly derail the ongoing Russia investigation, Brennan pushed back.
“I had many fights with Congressional Dems over the years on national security matters,” he said. “But I never witnessed the type of reckless partisan behavior I am now seeing from [Devin] Nunes and House Republicans. Absence of moral and ethical leadership in WH is fueling this government crisis.”
Now though, Brennan is forcefully weighing in on the Russia probe and calling Trump out as a liar, in the process confirming he believes Trump got help from the Kremlin in 2016.
Brennan’s criticisms of Trump are set to gain wider attention following Trump’s decision to unilaterally revoke Brennan’s security clearance. The unprecedented move seemed designed to warn Trump’s critics that they will be punished for speaking out against him.
It was clear the many the White House declaration on Trump’s enemies was meant to blunt ongoing news coverage of former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman and her secretly recorded tapes.
Omarosa, among other things, claims Trump used a racial slur, specifically “the N-word,” on a video recording that she has seen. She has also released several secret recordings of conversations she made with Trump and top officials. Her allegations have been dominating the news cycle for days.
The White House was desperate to change the topic and thought they did so with the Brennan move. But now Brennan’s shining the spotlight just where Trump doesn’t want it: on his collusion with Russia.