John Brennan testified before Congress regarding the Russia investigation, and Democrats postured as if Brennan connected another car to the impeachment train.
He didn’t. Donald Trump’s political opponents have somehow turned the absence of evidence into a mushroom cloud.
However, hidden in all the nothing-burgers hurled by Brennan was yet another reference to the proven federal crimes that persist.
Brennan commented on what should be done about the illegal disclosures of classified information.
When testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Brennan said:
What I was very concerned about, though, is the subsequent releases of what appears to be classified information purporting to point to the originator of the information–liaison partners. These continue to be very, very damaging leaks, and I find them appalling and they need to be tracked down.
Instead of focusing on Brennan’s comments about actual crimes that are damaging the country, the Washington Post (and other mainstream media outlets) categorized Brennan’s testimony as “explosive” and harrowing for the GOP:
In his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday morning, former CIA director John Brennan bluntly told lawmakers that during the 2016 election, he reviewed intelligence that showed “contacts and interactions” between Russian actors and people associated with the Trump campaign. By the summer of 2016, Brennan said, he was “convinced” that Russia was engaged in an “aggressive” and “multifaceted” effort to interfere in our election — and as a result, he believed “there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation” by the FBI.
With this testimony, Brennan just made it a whole lot harder — politically, at least — for the GOP to continue in its efforts to protect Trump, even as scrutiny of his campaign intensifies on the part of the FBI, and now, special counsel Robert Mueller. Yet if Tuesday’s hearing is any guide, congressional Republicans are still intent on shielding Trump by undermining the investigation in the mind of the public.
And so, again and again, Republican members of the committee, particularly South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy, tried to get Brennan to say that no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russian meddling in the election exists. But Brennan repeatedly refused to render a judgment on whether there was collusion. Instead, he only repeated his refrain that, because the CIA is not a law enforcement agency, he turned over its intelligence gathering about contacts between the Trump camp and Russians to the FBI, so that the FBI could conduct its investigation into whether there was collusion.
The Post admitted there was no evidence of collusion, yet did a victory lap anyway because the FBI was alerted. The problem there is that the current and former Directors of the FBI said there were no signs of collusion or interference. Where is the smoking gun?
Ranking House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff (D-CA) also pressed Brennan on the issue of coercion from Trump:
Schiff: “Have any members of the IC shared with you their concerns that the president was attempting to enlist the help of people within the intelligence community to drop the Flynn investigation?”
Brennan: “No, sir.”
Schiff: “Are you aware of any efforts the president has made to enlist the support of intelligence-community personnel to push back on a narrative involving the collusion issue that Mr. Rooney was asking about?
Brennan: “I am unaware of it.”
The intelligence leaks are troubling and need to be stopped. If Trump disclosed information to the Russian ambassador during his meeting last week, the leakers would’ve been the ones who endangered lives by telling the press that the Israelis might have an asset within ISIS.
Nevertheless, the Democrats’ hysterical search for the kill shot on Trump has facilitated their acceptance of intelligence leaks.