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A former CIA director has said that the United States of America is in a crisis under the Presidency of Donald Trump.

John Brennan, who served under both Barack Obama and George W. Bush, appeared alongside former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at the Aspen Security Forum on Friday.

The duo heavily criticised Trump's time in the White House so far and the threat of Russia, which has loomed heavily over his administration.

When asked if they felt if Trump was taking Russia seriously, Clapper came up with an amusing response.

Well, it's hard to tell.

Sometimes I think he's about making Russia great again.

Whilst this remark shocked and amused the audience, Brennan came up with a more sombre and downbeat take on the current state of America.

In some respects, we're a nation in crisis right now.

In recent weeks, the links between Trump and his colleagues with Russia have fallen under increasing scrutiny.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump Jr., when contacted by the New York Times for comment on a story about emails which detailed a meeting that he, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had with a Russian lawyer who had promised to give them incriminating evidence about Hillary Clinton during the Trump campaign, tweeted them to get ahead of the news story.

Brennan didn't offer a kind assessment of this revelation adding that they had acted foolishly and that they shouldn't have been in this situation in the first place.

They should have known better.

If they didn't, they shouldn't have been in those positions. ... Seems as if some folks swallowed the bait.

Brennan and Clapper were also troubled by Trump's public criticisms of the intelligence agencies, likening them to 'Nazis' and 'a witch hunt.'

Clapper was under the belief that these type of things were not supposed to have happen in the intelligence community once they he and Brennan had gone.

Well, I was kind of hopeful that after he got rid of the two chief Nazis — John and myself — things would improve.

Then there was Trump's now infamous meeting with Vladimir Putin and the G20 summit, which was more like a friendly get together than an intense political conversation.

Considering that Trump prides himself on being a good deal breaker, Brennan wasn't particular impressed with his handling of Putin.

[It was]  a very, very bad negotiation tactic.

This is Mr. Putin, who assaulted one of the foundational pillars of our democracy — our election system — invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, that has suppressed or repressed political opponents in Russia and caused the deaths of many of them.

Brennan said that he was also concerned by the news that Trump and Putin reportedly had a second, undisclosed conversation at the G20, with only a Russian translator being present.

To have this one-off and rely on the Russian translator... who knows what exactly was said?

There are concerns sometimes that what Trump says happens is not exactly what happens.

It raises concerns about what else may be going on between Trump and Putin behind closed doors, or outside of public view

When they were asked 'What do the Russians have on Trump?', they said that there are individuals in Congress which will solve the issue but that, ultimately, there shouldn't be anything to hide.

Clapper said:

Well, hopefully special counsel Robert Mueller ( a lawyer and former FBI director) will get to the bottom of that.

Brennan added:

If there's nothing to hide they should co-operate fully in an accelerated fashion.

Although it's hard to find a spark of positivity amongst this news, Clapper did conclude that not even the President can silence the intelligence community.

The national security apparatus is bigger than one person, even the President.

This isn't the first time that Clapper has spoken out against Trump.

In June he appeared at Australia's National Press Club and expressed his concern about Trump's attacks on certain government institutions.

HT NPRWashington Examiner

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