Former CIA director John Brennan said on Tuesday he had noticed contacts between associates of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia during the 2016 election and grew concerned Moscow had sought to lure Americans down “a treasonous path.” Brennan, who headed the agency until Trump became president in January, also told a congressional hearing that he personally warned the head of Russia’s FSB security service in a phone call last August that meddling in the election would hurt relations with the United States.
Separately, the top U.S. intelligence official, Dan Coats, sidestepped a question on a Washington Post report that Trump had asked him and the National Security Agency chief to help him knock down the notion there was evidence of such collusion. But Coats did say he has made clear to Trump’s administration that “any political shaping” of intelligence would be inappropriate.
The comments by Brennan and Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, added fuel to a controversy that has engulfed Trump since he fired FBI Director James Comey two weeks ago amid the agency’s investigation into possible collusion between people associated with his presidential campaign and Russia.
“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,” Brennan’s said in testimony to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.