The former CIA director under President Barack Obama asked Republican lawmakers to publicly condemn Russian interference in the presidential election — but they refused.
John Brennan, who led the intelligence service last year, told PBS’ “Frontline” that he presented lawmakers with evidence that Russia was attempting to influence the U.S. election, according to the Washington Post.
“In those briefings of Congress, some of the individuals expressed concern that this was motivated by partisan interests on the part of the [Obama] administration,” Brennan told PBS, “and I took offense to that. I told them that this is an intelligence assessment, that this is an intelligence matter.”
It’s not clear what evidence Brennan presented during the briefing, but he told PBS his conclusion was backed by U.S. intelligence, and he asked lawmakers for a bipartisan response to the foreign interference.
His newly public comments match reporting from December, when the Post revealed Obama administration officials had privately asked senior congressional officials from both parties to stand publicly united against Russian sabotage.
However, according to that report, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused and threatened to turn any White House efforts to publicly challenge Russia into “an act of partisan politics.”
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia attempted to help Donald Trump win the election at the expense of Hillary Clinton, and both lawmakers and a special counsel are investigating whether his campaign colluded with Kremlin agents.
Two of Trump’s top campaign officials were indicted on tax fraud and money laundering charges this week in connection with the special counsel probe, and a foreign policy adviser pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia.