Defense

Ex-CIA Director Brennan: Trump ‘score settling’ with Pentagon changes

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Former CIA Director John Brennan argued Friday that President Trump was “score settling” with recent personnel changes at the Pentagon.

His comments come amid concerns that the president is trying to fill the Pentagon with loyalists who can help push through controversial executive actions in the final weeks of Trump’s presidency. 

The fears were sparked by the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday, and a series of resignations that quickly followed. 

“He wants people to be personally loyal to him,” Brennan said in an interview on CNN. “So therefore the firing of Mark Esper and the decapitating of civilian leadership within the Pentagon, I think clearly is score-settling on the part of Mr. Trump.”

Brennan, a vocal Trump critic, said that it wasn’t clear in his view if the president was trying to politicize the military, or if he’s thinking about doing something that could compromise national security before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

“He still has the power of the presidency in his hands for the next 70 days,” Brennan said. “I’m hoping that people around him are counseling restraint so he does not engage in rash and reckless behavior, which he has unfortunately been known for.”  

Sources reportecly told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday that the White House had apparently focused on pushing out Esper’s undersecretaries after Esper and his team argued against withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller hired a senior adviser who frequently pushed for the immediate removal of troops from Afghanistan. 

Brennan also said that he hopes Trump would not divulge national security secrets once he leaves office, but that it does worry him. 

“I do worry,” he said, “about what Trump might do to enhance his personal, political or financial standing in the future.”

Tags Christopher Miller Donald Trump Jake Tapper Joe Biden John Brennan Mark Esper

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