Brennan: Trump called us hacks to delegitimize intelligence report

Former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanFormer intelligence chiefs slam Trump for removing officials Ex-CIA chief calls Trump intel shakeup a 'virtual decapitation' of the intelligence community DOJ attorney looking into whether CIA withheld info during start of Russia probe: NYT MORE said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus Esper: Military personnel could help treat coronavirus patients 'if push comes to shove' Schumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czar MORE called him a political hack in order to cast doubt on his and other intelligence agencies' conclusion that Russia sought to influence the 2016 election.

“Well first of all, he was referring to us as political hacks because he was trying to delegitimize the intelligence community assessment that was done,” Brennan told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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Trump on Saturday said Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey are political hacks. Those leaders were in charge in January, when a declassified report from those three agencies was released that said Russia called for an influence campaign aimed at interfering in the United States election.

“And then you hear it's 17 agencies. Well, it's three. And one is Brennan and one is whatever. I mean, give me a break. They're political hacks,” Trump told reporters.

“So you look at it — I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he's proven to be a leaker,” he added.

Trump also said he believes Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussian lawmakers approve fines, prison terms for spreading false coronavirus information The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump: Next couple of weeks are going to be rough The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump blends upbeat virus info and high US death forecast MORE “means it” when he denied Moscow meddled in the United States election. He said he would not "argue" with Putin's denials.

After receiving backlash, Trump said he believes the intelligence agencies.

“I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump said, referring to Putin. “As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted, with their leadership." 

Brennan noted that he, Clapper and Comey did not author the January report, saying other intelligence officers did.

“It’s very clear that the Russians interfered in the election and it’s still puzzling as to why Mr. Trump does not acknowledge that, embrace it and also push back hard against Mr. Putin,” he said.