Former CIA Director John Brennan has been one of the most outspoken believers that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation would reveal that President Donald Trump and members of his campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.
Monday, after Mueller turned in his final report and Attorney General William Barr's summary revealed that Trump had not been implicated in any illegal activities, Brennan was forced to attempt to explain how he got things so wrong, so loudly, for so long, according to The Washington Times.
Brennan was on with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Here's how the exchange went (emphasis added):
Scarborough: I'm just curious, Mr. Director, how surprised were you by the findings yesterday, by the conclusions that were drawn, and I'm just curious, did you receive bad information throughout this process like so many of us did, that there was more there than ended up in the report regarding collusion?
Brennan: Well, I don't know if I received bad information, but I think I suspected there was more than there actually was. I am relieved that it's been determined there was not a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government over our election. I think that is good news for the country.
And so I still point to things that were done publicly, or efforts to try to have conversations with the Russians that were inappropriate. But, I'm not all that surprised that the high bar of criminal conspiracy was not met.
I am surprised at that second part, obstruction of justice, in terms of how it came out. I don't know whether or not Bob Mueller wanted the attorney general to pronounce on that issue. Or whether or not Bob Mueller felt that was for Congress and the American people to determine whether the weight of the information indicates that Donald Trump did try to obstruct justice.
So, there are some surprises there, and that's why I think getting to the full Mueller report is the best way to get some of these, if not all of these, questions answered.
A couple of things stand out in Brennan's answer. The first is that he said he's not surprised that President Trump was not charged with criminal conspiracy. Brennan has written that "Trump's claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash" and said that the president is "treasonous," "imbecilic," and "wholly in the pocket of Putin."
Brennan also pushes the notion of distrust of Attorney General William Barr, suggesting that Barr overstepped his boundaries by declaring that there was not enough evidence to charge President Trump with obstruction of justice, and speculating that Mueller would have preferred the American people to decide that rather than the head of the Justice Department.