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Ex-top CIA official: Brennan is doing Putin’s ‘bidding’ by speculating about Trump blackmail

Ex-top CIA official: Brennan is doing Putin’s ‘bidding’ by speculating about Trump blackmail

A former top CIA official who served as the agency’s station chief in Moscow is sharply criticizing his former boss, John Brennan, accusing him of doing Vladimir Putin’s “bidding” through his harsh attacks on President Trump.

In an interview on the Yahoo News podcastSkullduggery,” CIA veteran Daniel Hoffman charged that Brennan’s public comments and tweets in recent weeks have played into Putin’s hands, helping the Russian leader stoke political divisions within the country and thereby undermine U.S. national security.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen something like this,” said Hoffman about Brennan’s public comments about the president. “Gosh, I can’t remember ever seeing an instance of this in our history where a retired director of the CIA went as far as he did.”

Hoffman was reacting to a series of tweets and public statements the former CIA director has made in recent weeks after signing a contract to be a commentator for NBC News.

In one tweet on March 17, Brennan reacted to Trump’s apparent gloating about the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (the president called it a “a great day for Democracy”) by writing about the president: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history.”

Then, in a March 21 appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Brennan said of Trump: “I think he is afraid of the president of Russia. One could speculate as to why. The Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult.”

Brennan declined to comment for this story. But shortly after his “Morning Joe” comments, he emphasized to the New York Times that he had no hard evidence that the Russians had blackmail material on Trump, notwithstanding the contents of a still-uncorroborated dossier prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele making similar allegations. “I do not know if the Russians have something on Donald Trump that they could use as blackmail,” he told the Times.

But Hoffman, who served as CIA station chief in Moscow during President Barack Obama’s first term and later worked under Brennan as chief of the agency’s Near East operations, was not dissuaded.

Download or subscribe on iTunes: “Skullduggery” by Yahoo News

“Sometimes, the president can bring out the worst in his enemies or his opponents, for all that entails,” said Hoffman in his “Skullduggery” interview. Even though Brennan appeared to back away from his “Morning Joe” comments, “the damage is done.”

“I found it quite disconcerting that he went as far as he did,” Hoffman said on the podcast. “Basically, accusing the president of being subject to blackmail by Vladimir Putin is an extraordinarily strong statement to make and carries with it a lot of damage.

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