Trump’s quest for vengeance against John Brennan
In Attorney General William Barr’s review of the Russia probe, some see a presidential target.
By NATASHA BERTRAND and DANIEL LIPPMAN
10/22/2019 05:06 AM EDT
President Donald Trump’s obsession with former CIA director John Brennan could be on a collision course with an ongoing Justice Department probe as Attorney General Bill Barr takes a more hands-on approach to examining the intelligence community’s actions in 2016.
Barr has been meeting with the U.S.’ closest foreign intelligence allies in recent months, making repeated overseas trips as part of an investigation he is overseeing into the origins of the Russia probe and whether any inappropriate “spying” occurred on Trump’s campaign.
As part of that investigation, Barr and John Durham, the federal prosecutor he appointed to conduct it, have been probing a conspiracy theory for which there is little if any evidence, according to several people with knowledge of the matter: that a key player in the Russia probe, a professor named Joseph Mifsud, was actually a Western intelligence asset sent to discredit the Trump campaign — and that the CIA, under Brennan, was somehow involved.
Trump, meanwhile, has become “obsessed” with Brennan, who frequently gets under the president’s skin by publicly questioning his mental acuity and fitness for office, according to a former White House official. On Brennan, “it was always, ‘he’s an idiot, he’s a crook, we ought to investigate him,’” this person said, characterizing Trump’s outbursts.