During the hearing Brennan stated that he had been privy to intelligence detailing interactions between Donald Trump’s campaign associates and Russian officials that led him to believe there was without a doubt a need for the present FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump and Russia.
During his testimony today Brennan said...
“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,”
Brennan went on to say that by the time he left the CIA on Jan. 20 he had “unresolved questions” as to whether the Russians were successful in getting Americans “to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion.”
Due to the fact that Brennan had left the CIA before the investigation had made significant inroads into the case he told lawmakers he could not say with certainty whether the president’s campaign associates colluded with Moscow.
He did however say...
“But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the [FBI] to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring or colluding with Russian officials,”
After several Republican lawmakers tried to defuse his testimony by asking him to provide “evidence” that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to increase Trump’s odds of winning the 2016 presidential election Brennan said, in carefully worded responses, that as CIA chief he dealt with intelligence rather than evidence and that the intelligence he saw warranted further investigation.
The former CIA chief’s descriptions of the unusual interactions between Trump associates and Russian officials matches the reports that have come to light concerning Trump advisers Carter Page, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.
Brennan however could not publicly name the Trump associates who were in contact with Russian officials due to classification reasons.
Brennan, who had spent 25 years with the CIA, played a key role in a U.S. intelligence assessment that accused Moscow of meddling in last year’s presidential election with the goal of helping Trump win.
Brennan has emerged as a harsh critic of Trump notably when Trump compared the intelligence community to Nazi Germany in January before he took office. Brennan called the remarks “repugnant.”