- The former CIA chief accused Trump on Monday of being 'wholly in the pocket of Putin' and his conduct 'nothing short of treasonous'
- Brennan, who served under President Obama, is one of Trump's harshest critics
- Trump slammed back in an interview with Tucker Carlson being aired Tuesday, calling him 'a very bad guy'
- Equated him to FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and to fired FBI boss James Comey claiming they were all 'being exposed for what they are'
- Brennan was CIA chief during the 2016 election but has since called the president a 'snake oil salesman'
- Brennan doubled down on criticism Tuesday in appearance on NBC's Today show saying Trump was 'aiding, abetting, giving comfort to an enemy'
President Donald Trump wouldn't call Russia an adversary in an interview taped after his explosive press conference and before he read a statement acknowledging Russia did interfere in the U.S. elections.
Trump conducted the interview with Fox host Tucker Carlson after his Helsinki press conference where he created a firestorm by saying he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over the U.S. Intelligence Community, which concluded Russia did hack.
Carlson asked the president of Russia was the nation's 'chief adversary.'
'Well they are a strong military,' Trump said, complimenting Russia. 'But their economy is much smaller as you know than China and I don't want to even use the word "adversary," we can all work together,' he said.
President Donald Trump wouldn't call Russia an adversary in an interview taped after his explosive press conference
Trump conducted the interview with Fox host Tucker Carlson after his Helsinki press conference where he created a firestorm by saying he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over the U.S. Intelligence Community, which concluded Russia did hack
'We can do great. Everybody can do well and we can live in peace, but I think it's very, very important and I've watched your show a lot and I see how you're talking about the - really the magnificent size of China, you look at the size and what they've done in a fairly short period of time, that's because of a lot of bad leadership on behalf of the United States. We allowed that to happen,' Trump said.
The Fox host also asked Trump what he thought of the timing of the indictments of 12 Russian spies accused of carrying out the hack – perhaps suggesting the Justice Department wanted to influence his summit with Putin. Trump was informed in advance.
'Well, I don’t think of the timing as much as I think of other timing. Barack Obama was President. I wasn’t President when this happened. Barack Obama was the President of the United States when all of this - this was pre - this was when I was getting elected, so I was being elected, and I guess, I assumed this stuff all took place in that area or before,' Trump said, keeping blame on his predecessor as he has done on Twitter.
Putin is pictured during the joint press conference with Trump in Helsinki, Finland
'And he was President and they informed him of it and he did nothing. And then after I won, see, he thought Hillary was going to win, after I won, he said, "Oh, this is a big deal.." Trump continued.
'Well, it wasn’t a big deal as long as she won. So it's a disgrace, and frankly, it's a disgrace what's happening to our country,' he said.
Carlson also brought up Trump's rant about Democratic servers during his Helsinki press conference.
'Would be possible for you to direct the Department of Justice, FBI to take possession of the server and have, assuming no government investigators looked at it, which seems to be case right now, and gets to the bottom of it,' he asked.
The DNC handed over data that a computer security firm pulled from the hacked server during the campaign, and the latest indictment makes detailed references to information on it. Trump brought up the server as well as raising a conspiracy theory about a Democratic IT staffer who worked for Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and who pleaded guilty to a bank fraud charge.
'So as I've told you and the answer is absolutely, it is possible, and maybe at some point, it will be done, but I've wanted to stay out. My Department of Justice is the one branch, the one group that I'm very little involved and the same with the FBI,' Trump said, although he later laced into FBI lawyer Peter Stzrok.
'Am I disappointed that they're not looking at all of the crooked things taking place on the other side? Like the Pakistani man who left with these three servers- knew everything about Schultz, new everything, new Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and I think he had three servers. I believe they even have them, and they don’t want to use them, Trump said.
'Or the DNC, where the server was never taken by the FBI. They went in there and [Clinton campaign chair John] Podesta or somebody threw them out of the office. They said, "Get out of here."
'Maybe if they go after other people, like there's no tomorrow. So, I have purposely - you understand that. I spoke to you about it before. As they said, "You're winning, don’t get involved," because I don't want to have people accuse me of anything, so I've stayed very much uninvolved, but am I allowed to be involved? Totally. Will I be involved? We'll have to see as it goes along,' Trump said.
Carlson asked asked Trump why his son should 'go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?' – a reference to the Article V treaty obligations that commit all member nations to coming to defense of the others.
NATO members mustered troops to defend the U.S. following Sept. 11th and put troops into Afghanistan.
'I understand what you're saying. I've asked the same question. Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people,' the president offered.
'Yes, I'm not against - or Albania,' explained Carlson, mentioning another small nation on Russia's periphery.
'No, by the way ... They have very aggressive people. They may get aggressive and congratulations, you're in World War III, now I understand that - but that's the way it was set up,' he responded.
Trump turned on the ex-CIA director who accused of treason after his meeting with Vladimir Putin, telling Fox News in an interview airing Tuesday: 'I think he's a very bad person.'
Former CIA director John Brennan is one of Trump's harshest critics
He slammed John Brennan repeatedly in comments released from his interview with Tucker Carlson, which he recorded immediately after one with the network's Sean Hannity.
'I think Brennan is a very bad guy, and if you look at it, a lot of things happened under his watch,' Trump told Carlson.
'I think he's a very bad person.'
Brennan's tweeted criticism on Monday shortly after the press conference with the Russian president included a call for impeachment.
On Tuesday the former chief spy doubled down, telling NBC's Today show that he was right to warn about treason.
'When I use the term, this is nothing short of treasonous I equate it to the betrayal of one's nation, aiding, abetting, giving comfort to an enemy,' he said.
'The president had the chance to warn Putin, to tell him, "Do not do this again" and he failed to even meet the minimum standards of that.'
He slammed Trump on twitter after the president's press conference with Putin
President Trump and President Putin spoke to the press after their meeting in Helsinki
Twitter attack: McCain used the president's preferred medium to trail the attack on Trump
But Trump equated the former Obama official to a series of his favorite targets at the FBI: anti-Trump lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, fired director James Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe.
'I also think that when you watch Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, when you watch all of the things that have happened - Comey, you take a look at that and McCabe who has got some pretty big problems I assume, you look at the deception, the lies – these are people that in my opinion are truly bad people, and they’re being exposed for what they are,' the president said.
Brennan spoke out on Monday amid a firestorm of bipartisan criticism.
John McCain labeled Trump's press conference 'one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in history', and other Republicans also joined the criticism, with Paul Ryan saying: 'Russia is not our ally.'
And Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, tweeted: 'What do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically?'
Brennan has been one of the president's harshest critics. And he was CIA chief during the 2016 election when the Obama administration was said to have known Russia was trying to interfere in the presidential contest.
He has not held back in the harsh language he uses to describe the president.
In June op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post, Brennan called Trump a 'snake-oil salesman' who has shown 'mean-spirited, malicious, and highly abnormal behavior.'
Trump fired back. He attacked Brennan on Twitter after the op-ed appeared, quoting a former Secret Service agent who appeared on 'Fox & Friends' and called Brennan a liar.
In March, after FBI agent Andrew McCabe was fired, Brennan tweeted to Trump: 'When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but will not destroy America... America will triumph over you.'
On Monday, the former CIA chief was expressing his fury that the president declined to back the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Putin denied Russia had any role in the election.
Trump was asked if he believed his Russian counterpart or his intelligence chiefs. 'I don't see any reason why it would be' Russia, the president said.
'I have great confidence in my intelligence people,' he added, 'but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that's an incredible offer.'
Brennan wasn't the only former intelligence official to express disbelief at Trump's statement.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who served during the Obama administration, said the press conference was 'truly unbelievable.'
'On the world's stage, in front of the entire globe, the President of the United States essentially capitulated and seems intimidated by Vladimir Putin. So it was amazing and very, very disturbing,' Clapper said on CNN Monday afternoon.
Putin was asked in Monday's presser if he had any dirt on Trump or his family.
The Russian president said he didn't know Trump was in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant.
'When President Trump was in Moscow back then, I didn't even know that he was in Moscow,' he said. 'Please disregard these issues and don't think about this anymore again.'
The president said if the Russians had anything, it would have come out.
'If they had it, it would have been out long ago,' Trump said.