In an extensive interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, President Donald Trump characterized former CIA Director John Brennan as a "very bad person" after the Obama-era bureaucrat accused the president of treason and invoked impeachment. Brennan blasted the president’s joint news conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying on Monday "[Trump's] performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous." Brennan added, "Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin." The former CIA boss has described himself as a non-partisan patriot, but once voted for a Communist in a U.S. presidential race.

Responding to his critics, who included not only Democrats and progressive, but also GOP Sen. John McCain, Trump tweeted on Wednesday, "Some people hate the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It's called Trump Derangement Syndrome." Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called out Trump crtiics, saying on Monday that they are exhibiting symptoms of "Trump Derangement Syndrome."

When Carlson asked the president about the remarks, Trump responded by calling Brennan "a very bad person." As for FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, former FBI Director James Comey and FBI agent Andrew McCabe, Trump said they are characterized by "deception and lies." Trump said, "These are people who are truly bad people. They're being exposed for who they really are."

Partial transcript:

“I think John Brennan is a very bad guy, a lot of things happened under his watch, I think he’s a very bad person. I think if you watch Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, when you look at all the things that have happened, Comey, if you take a look at that and McCabe who’s got problems I assume — you look at the deception, the lies and what’s gone on in the last fairly long period of time. Before I won. Long before I won, during the campaign. I guess probably during the Republican when I was fighting against 17 other Republicans — so this has been going on for a long time. These are people that in my opinion are truly bad people. They are being exposed for what they are and it’s a shame that it has to happen but it’s really hurt our country.”

Carlson said that the typical view in Washington is that the U.S. is "forever in conflict with Russia" and that "anyone who doesn't believe that is betraying the U.S." The president recalled the millions of deaths Russia suffered in the service of the alliance that defeated Nazi Germany during the Second World War. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “The meeting between President Putin and myself was a great success, except in the Fake News Media!” Earlier that day, Trump wrote on Twitter, “While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way - the Fake News is going Crazy!”

In the interview with Carlson, Trump said, "[They] helped us win the war... I'm not pro-Russia or pro-anybody. I just want this country to be safe."

Trump criticized the structure of NATO, which he said would compel the U.S. to help tiny nations such as Montenegro if they are attacked. While he said that he has nothing against Montenegro, he fears that resulting conflicts could be to the detriment of the U.S.  "Congratulations, you're in World War III," Trump said. "That was the way [NATO] was set up."



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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