George W. Bush’s CIA chief Michael Hayden dismissed Donald Trump’s “spygate” narrative regarding the Russian collusion investigation Sunday, accusing the president of grasping at anything to undermine the probe.
The investigation activity described so far is “stunningly normal,” Hayden said on ABC’s “This Week.” From “everything I know, everyone has handled this just about the way it should have been handled,” he added.
The president is “simply trying to delegitimize the Mueller investigation … and he’s willing to throw almost anything against the wall” to do that, Hayden said. He pointed out that a previous Trump claim against investigators — that Trump Tower was wiretapped at Obama’s request — turned out to be absolutely untrue.
Trump has insisted that the FBI embedded a “spy” in his presidential campaign team at the behest of Barack Obama. In fact, in standard procedure, an informant contacted two members of Trump’s campaign to investigate legitimate suspicions that members may have been compromised by Russian spies, The New York Times reported.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also said on “This Week” that he has seen no information suggesting anything problematic about actions by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies. “What I have seen is evidence that they were investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia that were concerning,” said Rubio.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Trump’s strategy has been to “spread a completely fallacious story” and then call for an investigation. He said the broader issue is “how do you counter a president who repeats falsehood after falsehood after falsehood and has the bully pulpit of the presidency to do it, and who has allies in Congress who are willing to support that?” His answer? “Throw the bums out.”
Hayden said he is convinced the Russians “affected” the presidential election. But “how much they affected it, is not just unknown, it is also unknowable,” he added.
Hayden also discussed his concerns about possible upcoming U.S. talks with North Korea, saying he was fearful that the president hasn’t done his “homework.” Hayden said he knows that one of the men in the talks will be “very, very prepared” — Kim Jong Un.
“These folks are not going to get rid of all their nuclear weapons and if President Trump’s brand — and that’s the right word here — going into this meeting demands something like that, this is going to end up in a very bad place,” Hayden said. The “realistic expectation” at such a summit is to begin to “stabilize the Korean problem, not solve it,” he added.
Check out the rest of the interview above. Hayden talks about the Mueller investigation beginning at 6:11.