Former CIA director John Brennan told Congress that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election won by Republican Donald Trump.
Brennan, who served as CIA director from 2013 until January 20, told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Russia “brazenly interfered” in the elections, Efe news reported.
Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in a race that was marked by leaks of emails and other communications from the former First Lady’s campaign.
Brennan said he was one of the first US officials to warn Moscow about its activities and to cease efforts to affect the election’s outcome.
The former CIA director said he addressed the matter with Russian Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov, who told him he would pass on his concerns to President Vladimir Putin.
“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” Brennan told the commitee.
Brennan said that by the time he left his post, “I had unresolved questions in my mind about whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting US persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion.”
The former CIA director told lawmakers that while there were contacts, he had not obtained evidence of “collusion” between Trump’s team and Moscow.
The former spy chief said there were enough indications to warrant an investigation by the FBI.
“But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not US persons were actively conspiring and colluding with Russian officials,” the former CIA chief said.