President Trump denied he was “pro-Russia” and slammed former CIA Director John Brennan in a Fox News interview airing Tuesday night, after the ex-intelligence chief described Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “treasonous.”
“I think Brennan is a very bad guy and if you look at it a lot of things happened under his watch,” Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Monday. “I think he’s a very bad person.”
The “Tucker Carlson Tonight” interview was recorded in Helsinki following the Trump-Putin news conference, at which Trump appeared to dismiss the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Trump backtracked on Tuesday, claiming he meant to say he didn’t see why Russia “wouldn’t” be responsible for the meddling.
On Monday, Brennan tweeted that Trump’s performance at the news conference “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.'”
“Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin,” added Brennan. “Republican Patriots: Where are you???”
In his interview, Trump compared Brennan to FBI official Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
“When you watch all of the things that have happened … you look at the deception, the lies,” Trump told Carlson. “These are people that in my opinion are truly bad people, and they’re being exposed for what they are.”
When Carlson asked Trump if he considered Russia America’s greatest adversary, the president answered: “I won’t even use the word adversary. We can all work together. We can do great. Everybody can do well and we can live in peace.”
Trump also invoked the Soviet Union’s role in fighting Nazi Germany during World War II: “In World War II, Russia lost 50 million people and helped us win the war. I was saying to myself the other day, ‘You know, Russia really helped us.'”
“I’m not pro-Russia, pro-anybody,” Trump went on. “I just want to have this country be safe. … You know, Russia and the United States control 90 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world and getting along with Russia – and not only for that reason – it’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”
During the wide-ranging interview, Trump also criticized European leaders over their countries’ immigration policies. When Carlson asked if any nation in Europe had been improved by mass migration, the president responded: “Not one.”
“One of my big things, and some people were insulted … I said, ‘The immigration policies in Europe are a disaster. You’re destroying Europe. You’re destroying the culture of Europe. The crime is up in those areas and you’d better do something'” Trump said.
The president used his criticisms of Europe to tout his own immigration policies and slam congressional Democrats for opposing them.
“The Democrats want open borders, which is basically saying, ‘We want open borders, we want crime,'” Trump said. “Maybe it’s a political philosophy they grew up with, maybe they learned it at school, maybe they’re fools. I don’t know.”