Of all the talking heads that were certain that President Trump colluded with Russia, it was MSNBC national security analyst John Brennan who used his position as former CIA Director to add credence to his claims.
In an August 2018 New York Times op-ed, Brennan said that claims of no collusion were "hogwash" and the only questions were whether it was criminal, whether Trump obstructed justice, and just how many Trump associates would be brought down as a result.
When Attorney General William Barr came out with his summary in late March, Brennan tried to pretend he never wrote such things. "I'm not at all surprised that the high bar of criminal conspiracy was not met," he told Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough.
On Thursday, Brennan was back to his original claim. During a phone interview with Brian Williams, and despite the fact that Mueller did not find evidence of collusion, Brennan declared, "The amount of information that relates to collusion and obstruction activity is really quite extensive in this report." Brennan was not alone among media personalities in this assessment.
Even more remarkable was Brennan's claim that, "It was quite--quite, I think, enlightening from the standpoint of the things that we've seen in press reports are borne out by the Special Counsel's report." However, as The Daily Caller pointed out, the Mueller Report explicitly contradicted some of the more scandalous reports, such as Buzzfeed's article claiming that President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
Brennan finished his initial remarks by taking a shot at Barr, "And finally, I, quite frankly was shocked at the performance of Attorney General Barr this morning. Like many others, I had very high hopes that Attorney General Barr would really rise to the occasion when he was confirmed and fulfill the responsibilities of an attorney general to act as this country's chief law enforcement officer and do it in a manner that's not going to take into account the politics of a person who nominated and appointed him."
Earlier on NBC, Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams said that Barr's four page summary back in March "tracks very closely" with that the actual report says.
Here is the transcript for his April 18 remarks:
1:39 PM ET
JOHN BRENNAN: Hi, Brian. Well, like many others, I'm wading my way through the report, but I do have a number of reactions to the report and events this morning. The first, I'm very pleased at the amount of report that was not redacted that has seen the light of day. I think it demonstrates that the Department of Justice professionals and those within the Special Counsel's team really fulfilled their professional responsibilities ably. Second, the extent of the redactions that are related to ongoing investigations and potential prosecutions, I think it shows that although the Mueller team has concluded its work, there is still a lot of related activity going on that may very well lead to further criminal charges of individuals who were involved in criminal activity. Third, the amount of information that relates to collusion and obstruction activity is really quite extensive in this report. I think by anyone's account, you can identify all the things that were going on between individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and interactions and meetings with Russians.
It was quite -- quite, I think, enlightening from the standpoint of the things that we've seen in press reports are borne out by the Special Counsel’s report. Fourth, the extent and nature of what I would say are the very egregious conduct of Donald Trump that's included in the report. Especially on the obstruction side. This conduct was unethical, unprincipled, dishonest and I would say it really does back up political corruption, in terms of trying to get people to mislead and not tell the truth for a very legitimate ongoing law enforcement investigation. Also, it is, I think, to all of us, that Bob Mueller could not determine that these actions by a sitting president were legal. He could not make that determination.
And that's why I think it is critically important that this report be looked at very, very not just by the American people, but also by the members of Congress of both parties and looking at it in a rather nonpartisan way. And finally, I, quite frankly, was shocked at the performance of Attorney General Barr this morning. Like many others, I had very high hopes that the Attorney General Barr would really rise to the occasion when he was confirmed and fulfill the responsibilities of an attorney general to act as this country's chief law enforcement officer and do it in a manner that's not going to take into account the politics of a person who nominated and appointed him, but I think his -- the political nature of his comments this morning were blatant, politically gratuitous. He cast this as almost an exoneration of Donald Trump.
He didn't talk at all about the things that happened that we all should be concerned about as Americans. I think he really did give a pass to this administration, to Donald Trump, in a manner that I think was unbefitting of somebody who holds the very, very important office of the attorney general and I think like many others, I'm just disappointed that Attorney General Barr decided to go down this path.