Former CIA Director John Brennan responded Friday morning to claims made by President Trump in an interview Thursday night with Fox News host Sean Hannity about an attempted 'coup' by the CIA to overthrow Trump: "I don't think it's surprising at all that we hear these sociopathic ramblings from Mr. Trump claiming there was this effort to try to prevent him from being elected or to try to unseat him."
"This was a coup, this was an attempted overthrow of the United States government," President Trump said about the use of the Steele dossier to obtain FISA warrants on members of his campaign. "These are sick, sick people... Let's see how high it goes up because it's inconceivable when it goes to Clapper, Brennan, Comey, these people, I would imagine some other people maybe higher up also knew about it."
Speaking on MSNBC, the former CIA director said he would gladly testify in Congress about what he did and asserted that it was the FBI, not the CIA, who pushed for the Steele dossier to be included in an intelligence report given to President-elect Trump.
"Before the Obama administration left office, we put out everything we could," Brennan explained. "And, unfortunately, this administration and Donald Trump refuses to continue to acknowledge what the Russians did and to take steps to prevent them from doing it in the future. I truly suspect that Donald Trump would not mind if the Russians interfered again if it was going to advance his prospects for re-election."
FORMER CIA DIRECTOR JOHN BRENNAN: He has no credibility whatsoever. This is a real issue not just in terms of the American people in terms of what we can believe, but also the international community. What can they put stock in as far as what the President and the United States says about these very, very important issues?
MSNBC: The president has been talkative lately, including on Sean Hannity overnight on FOX News, and his first interview in depth since we've seen some of these developments from the Mueller report, and he invoked your name, and I want to play what he had to say.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I really say now we have to get down because this was a coup, this was an attempted overthrow of the United States government. These are sick people. These are sick, sick people. Let's see what happens with McCabe and Comey and Brennan and Clapper. They were in on the act, and let's see what happens and let's see how high it goes up because it's inconceivable when it goes to Clapper, Brennan, Comey these people, I would imagine some other people maybe higher up also knew about it and maybe a lot higher up.
MSNBC: That is the president alleging that you, among others, were "in on the act" for some type of overthrow. How do you respond?
JOHN BRENNAN: I don't think it is surprising at all that we continue to hear there sociopathic ramblings from Mr. Trump claiming there was this effort to try to prevent him from being elected or to try to unseat him. I welcome any type of continued investigation in terms of what I testified in front of Congress.
MSNBC: You would do it again?
BRENNAN: Absolutely I would do it again. People have called for me to do it. Rand Paul and others make these very specious allegations that have no basis in truth, but they make it into the bloodstream and then certain networks will propagate that.
MSNBC: I wonder if one of the allegations you're talking about is the one where Rand Paul said of you that "a high-level source tells me it was Brennan who insisted that the unverified and fake Steele dossier be included in the intelligence report." That is something that was echoed by Bob Woodward over the weekend on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace, saying based on his reporting it was the CIA pushing for the dossier to be included in the reporter in the underlying IC investigation.
BRENNAN: That's absolutely incorrect and 180 degrees from the truth. It was CIA that was pushing not to have it included, not to have it taken into account at all in that intelligence community assessment. I testified in front of Congress and I will continue to do it. This was something that Jim Comey and the FBI thought it was appropriate that Mr. Trump, who was going to become the President of the United States, would be aware of this report that is circulating and how it could be exploited by the Russians or others to try to undermine this government.
MSNBC: Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, also made mention of the past administration in his speech overnight. I want to play for you what he had to say.
ROD ROSENSTEIN: Some critical decisions about that Russia investigation were made before I got here. The previous administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and how they relate to Russia's broader strategy to undermine America.
MSNBC: The deputy attorney general blaming the administration that you served in for not publicizing the threat from Russia enough. Does he have, at all, a legitimate point there?
BRENNAN: I don't believe so. For two reasons. One, the last administration put out an intelligence community assessment and tried to be as comprehensive and transparent as possible about what the Russians were doing. Could we, in fact, reveal all of our knowledge during the period of time leading up to the election, which could expose our sources and methods and our ability to monitor what the Russians were doing? So we had a delicate balance here. Before the Obama administration left office, we put out everything we could and, unfortunately, this administration and Donald Trump refuses to continue to acknowledge what the Russians did and to take steps to prevent them from doing it in the future. I truly suspect that Donald Trump would not mind if the Russians interfered, again, if it was going to advance his prospects for re-election.
MSNBC: Chris Wray says 2018 was just a dress rehearsal for 2020.
BRENNAN: Absolutely, the Russians, unfortunately, are very good and they're going to be very persistent in this area.