WATCH: CNN analyst blows up at ex-CIA chief for blaming Kushner’s Russian back-channel on Obama
CNN’s Phil Mudd on Tuesday ripped into R. James Woolsey Jr. on Tuesday after the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency claimed the real issue involving the Russia invitation are leaks coming from the White House
Woolsey said the Obama administration was “extremely uncooperative” with the Trump transition team. Host Don Lemon pushed back on that point, noting even Trump officials touted his predecessor’s help.
“I know they said that, but the story indicated the Obama administration was taking the names and information of private citizens … and giving them to people in the Obama White House,” Woolsey said.
Lemon argued the Trump administration only “recently” found out about the unmasking of certain Trump officials, arguing they were unaware of those reports when Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner tried to establish a backchannel line of communication with the Kremlin.
Woolsey insisted Trump transition officials likely felt “bad vibrations” from the Obama administration’s nonexistent surveillance.
Asked to respond, Mudd bluntly replied, “nonsense.”
“let’s be clear about this .. once you have a nominee of an American political party you start to receive top secret intelligence,” Mudd said. “That’s going back to the middle of last year. When you become president-elect, you can have intelligence briefings as often as you want.”
Mudd noted if Trump wanted it, those intelligence briefings could have included details about Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
“A representative of then-incoming president Trump decides—in this environment—that representative will meet with the individual who’s at the center of those allegations,” Mudd explained, referring to Kushner’s conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Asked by Mudd if it’s a “viable argument” that the Trump team didn’t trust the Obama administration.
“No. It’s not a viable argument,” Mudd said, noting Trump valued “the communications of the Russian embassy that has been involved in subverting American democracy” over U.S. channels.
“You going to tell me that makes sense?” Rudd demanded.
Woolsey tried to interrupt Mudd, at which point the former CIA official snapped, “Excuse me. I’m speaking.”
“Excuse me,” Mudd continued. “Wait a moment.”
Watch the video below, via CNN: