U.S. Attorney John Durham interviewed former President Obama’s CIA chief John Brennan on Friday as part of his probe into the Obama administration’s investigation of the Trump campaign, according to a report.
Brennan’s spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement that the interview took place at the CIA headquarters and lasted for eight hours, the Associated Press (AP) reported late Friday.
Shapiro claimed that Durham told Brennan that he is not a subject or target of a criminal investigation and that he is only a witness to events under review, according to his statement.
Durham’s interview of Brennan comes on the heels of his first criminal indictment, of ex-FBI Kevin Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty to doctoring an email to falsely say that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page was “not a source” for the CIA — information that may have prevented the FBI from continuing to wiretap Page.
Brennan was not only involved in the 2017 intelligence community assessment that claimed Russia had interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump, but he was also present during key events, such as a January 2017 Oval Office meeting where then-President Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice discussed an FBI investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.
Brennan was also present right before a meeting where then-FBI Director James Comey briefed incoming President Trump on the unverified “pee dossier” paid for by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign. That briefing was used as part of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and provided a news hook for CNN’s disclosure of the dossier and Buzzfeed’s publishing of it.
Brennan appeared voluntarily for the interview and has previously said he welcomed the chance to be questioned and felt he had nothing to hide, according to the AP.
Shapiro said in his statement that Brennan questioned why the CIA’s findings and tradecraft were now being scrutinized by the Justice Department given that the Mueller report and the bipartisan Senate report validated the conclusions of Russian interference, according to the AP.
“Brennan also told Mr. Durham that the repeated efforts of Donald Trump and William Barr to politicize Mr. Durham’s work have been appalling and have tarnished the independence and integrity of the Department of Justice, making it very difficult for Department of Justice professionals to carry out their responsibilities,” Shapiro said.
Brennan testified before Congress in 2017 that he was so concerned about Russia’s contacts with people involved in Trump’s campaign that he convened top counterintelligence officials to focus on the issue.