Former CIA director John Brennan reflected on the US’s lengthy history as a nation Tuesday when asked why Americans should care about the Russia firestorm during congressional testimony.
“So, not for my sake, but for America’s sake: As someone who has devoted your entire life to public service, in your own words, please tell my constituents … why they should care,” about the investigations, Democratic Rep. Danny Heck of Washington asked Brennan. “Why do you care, sir?”
“Because for the last 241 years, this nation and its citizens have cherished the freedom and liberty this country was founded upon,” Brennan said. “Many, many Americans, brave Americans over the years, have lost their lives to be able to protect that freedom and liberty,” and that of other countries around the world.
“Our ability to choose our elected leaders as we see fit is, I believe, an inalienable right that we must protect with all of our resources and all of our authority and power,” Brennan added. “And the fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized by that election, I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country resist, and try to act to prevent further instances of that.”
“And so therefore,” he continued, “I believe that this is something that’s critically important to every American. It’s certainly very important to me — for my children and grandchildren — to make sure that never again will a foreign country try to influence and interfere in the foundation stone of this country, which is electing our democratic leaders.”
Q: Why should we care?
BRENNAN: Our ability to choose our elected leaders as we see fit is an inalienable right we must protect. pic.twitter.com/Ry7o8CKXlx
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 23, 2017
The investigations surrounding Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and whether any associates of President Donald Trump were involved, picked up steam over the last two weeks, after the president abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey. He had been spearheading the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Trump later said he had fired Comey with his mind on “this Russia thing.” Trump also reportedly shared highly classified information with Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting the day after he fired Comey. During that meeting, Trump reportedly called Comey a “real nut job” and said the firing had taken “great pressure” off him.
On Monday, The Associated Press reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and decline a subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee for documents related to his interactions with Russian officials from June 2015 to January 2017.
Monday evening, The Washington Post reported that Trump asked the Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, to push back against the FBI’s Russia probe by publicly denying any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election. Both Coats and Rogers rebuffed Trump’s request, according to officials who spoke to The Post.
In his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Brennan said he was concerned by some “interactions” between Trump campaign operatives and Russian officials during the election.