Ex-CIA chief eviscerates Nunes for his ‘reckless’ efforts to ‘try to protect Mr. Trump’

Former CIA director John Brennan.

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Former CIA director John Brennan.
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CBS

  • Former CIA director John Brennan said the memo Rep. Devin Nunes spearheaded is “reckless” and undermines his House Intelligence Committee chairmanship.
  • Brennan said Nunes had presented a completely partisan narrative, and the lack of access to underlying documents makes it difficult to get a full picture of the events described in the memo.
  • Brennan also defended the FBI for using the salacious and mostly unconfirmed dossier outlining connections between President Donald Trump and Russia, but stated the dossier had no role in the early stages of the investigation.

Former CIA director John Brennan had some harsh words for Rep. Devin Nunes following the release of the controversial memo the congressman spearheaded this past week.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Brennan called Nunes out for flagrant partisan bias of a kind he had not seen before.

“I never, ever saw the Democrats do something like this that was so partisan, so reckless and really just laid waste to the protocols that governed committees,” Brennan told host Chuck Todd. “And Devin Nunes, over the past several months, all the way back to the spring of last year, has been engaged in these tactics purely to defend, make excuses, and try to protect Mr. Trump.”

The memo alleges misconduct on the part of the Justice Department and FBI, and claims the agencies used unverified information in order to obtain a surveillance warrant for a former campaign associate of President Donald Trump.

Nunes has come under fire for painting a misleading picture of how the surveillance warrant was obtained, and Democrats have accused him of cherry-picking information. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, which voted to release the memo last Monday over their objections, have drafted their own memo that seeks to set the facts of the investigation straight.

Brennan said without the documents that Nunes and his staff used to write the memo, it is difficult to build a nonpartisan narrative of events.

“We don’t have access to the underlying information of the Nunes memo, which really, clearly indicates he was being exceptionally partisan in this,” Brennan said.

The Trump Russia dossier had no role in early intelligence assessments

The former CIA director also defended the controversial and unverified Trump Russia dossier, which Nunes claims investigators used to convince a judge to grant them the surveillance warrant.

“It was up to the FBI to see whether or not they could verify any of it,” Brennan said of the dossier. “I think [former FBI Director] Jim Comey has said that it contained salacious and unverified information. Just because it was unverified didn’t mean it wasn’t true.”

James Comey and Robert Mueller walk together outside the White House.

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James Comey and Robert Mueller walk together outside the White House.
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Win McNamee/Getty

Brennan qualified his defense of the dossier by adding that it “did not play any role whatsoever” in the early stages of the investigation.

Former British spy Christopher Steele authored the Trump-Russia dossier, which was funded by both a group of Republicans against Trump during the Republican primaries, and then Democrats after Trump became the opposing nominee. Many of the dossier’s claims still remain uncorroborated, but both the FBI and the Senate Intelligence Committee are using it as a “roadmap” to conduct their investigations into Russia’s election interference.

“If the Russians were involved in something like that, directed against individuals who are aspiring to the highest office in this land, there was an obligation on the part of the FBI to seek out the truth on it,” Brennan said.

Watch the full interview below: