Former CIA director John Brennan called out President Donald Trump as a liar -- and a possible traitor -- in a scathing column published a day after the announcement that he had been stripped of his security clearance.
The Trump administration rescinded Brennan's access to classified information last month but announced the move Tuesday, and the former intelligence official responded Wednesday in an op-ed published in the New York Times.
"Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash," Brennan wrote.
Russia had used active measures to interfere in Western democracies before the 2016 election, and Brennan said Americans watched Trump publicly encourage those efforts in real time during the campaign.
"Mr. Trump, then a presidential candidate, publicly called upon Russia to find the missing emails of (Hillary) Clinton," Brennan wrote. "By issuing such a statement, Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen, but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponent."
"Such a public clarion call certainly makes one wonder what Mr. Trump privately encouraged his advisers to do — and what they actually did — to win the election," he added.
Brennan said publicly reported evidence already points to suspicious relations between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of 'Trump Incorporated' attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets," Brennan wrote.
"A jury is about to deliberate bank and tax fraud charges against one of those people, Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman. And the campaign’s former deputy chairman, Rick Gates, has pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators," he added.