Former CIA Director John Brennan was one of several ex-US intelligence figures who heavily criticized President Donald Trump for his remarks at a press conference on Monday that followed his summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, saying they were “nothing short of treasonous.”

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One of the many things Trump said in the conference was that he rejected the conclusions of multiple top US intelligence agencies that found that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help him win. Trump cited Putin’s repeated denial of having played any role in the election.

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“All I can do is ask the question,” Trump said regarding Russian interference. Brennan slammed the president’s remarks as “imbecilic” and accused him of being controlled by Putin.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous,” Brennan, who led the CIA from 2013 to January 2017, wrote on Twitter during the news conference. “Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”


Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday that he firmly agrees with the assessment that Russia meddled in the election, and added that the country should not be considered an ally to the U.S.

Among the other former intelligence chiefs who criticized Trump was former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who told CNN the president “failed America today.”

Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA official who also led the National Security Agency under George W. Bush, agreed with a tweet from Meet The Press host Chuck Todd, who said Trump had basically showed more loyalty to Russia and its leader than to the U.S. and its intelligence institutions.

“On the world’s stage, in front of the entire globe, the President of the United States essentially capitulated and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin,” former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, a national security analyst for CNN, told the network. So it was amazing and very, very disturbing.”