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Ex CIA Director John Brennan slams Trump’s NFL comments

Former CIA director John Brennan slammed President Trump’s comments on the NFL protests on Saturday and told the president to focus his attention on the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico. 

Brennan, who Trump replaced with Mike Pompeo in January, issued a statement via former CIA Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Shapiro to make the damning remarks.

He accused the president of showing a ‘disregard’ for freedom of speech and expression in his view that players should not be allowed to take a knee during the National Anthem which has become a symbol of protest against racial inequality. 

‘Taking a knee during the national anthem shows respect for the flag and for all those who fought and died for it and, at the same time, concern about problems within American society that need to be addressed.  

Former CIA Director John Brennan issued a damning statement against President Trump’s NFL views on Saturday, saying he ought to focus on the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico instead of complaining about  the football players’ protests 

‘Pejorative and caustic comments about the practice show a disregard for one of the most important foundational principles of our great nation — freedom of expression — as well as ignorance of the corrosive impact of conscious and unconscious racial and class bias within our society,’ he said. 

After criticizing Trump’s view on the subject, Brennan urged him to turn his attention instead to Puerto Rico and the ongoing relief mission there. 

Thousands remain without power, food and water on the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

The crisis has consumed some of the president’s attention – on Saturday, he waged a war of words against the mayor of San Juan who earlier criticized him for not giving them enough federal aid. 

He has also vowed to carry on the recovery efforts until the island’s population is safe.

However in between his combative tweets about Mayor Carmen Cruz on Saturday, Trump returned to the subject of the NFL, tweeting: ‘Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. 

Respect our Flag and our Country!’ 

Trump fired this tweet out on Saturday afternoon as the crisis in Puerto Rico continued 

Trump fired this tweet out on Saturday afternoon as the crisis in Puerto Rico continued 

Late on Saturday, Trump applauded the '19,000' who stood for the National Anthem at a 2016 NHL game 

Late on Saturday, Trump applauded the ‘19,000’ who stood for the National Anthem at a 2016 NHL game 

Brennan said taking a knee 'shows respect for the flag' but also addresses the issue of racial inequality. Above, the Buffalo Bills take a knee during a game on September 24, two days  after the president condemned the protests 

Brennan said taking a knee ‘shows respect for the flag’ but also addresses the issue of racial inequality. Above, the Buffalo Bills take a knee during a game on September 24, two days  after the president condemned the protests 

Brennan says it was an ill-advised move. 

‘It is at times like this that government officials demonstrate that they either have or sorely lack the leadership qualities and values that are needed and expected by the American people. 

‘And at all times, the primary responsibility of the President of the United States is to do everything possible to safeguard the lives of American citizens, which is why Mr. Trump should have laser-like focus on mitigating the catastrophic damage of Hurricane Maria on the people of Puerto Rico,’ he said in his statement. 

It is not the first time the pair have clashed. 

After being replaced by Pompeo in January, Brennan was accused by Trump aides of trying to hinder relations between the government and the intelligence community on his way out. 

He slammed the president’s post-election appearance at Langley, when the president stood in front of a Memorial Wall of Agency heroes to talk about his victory, saying at the time that he was ‘deeply saddened and angered’ by the ‘self-aggrandizement’. 

Brennan told the president to keep his attention on Puerto Rico where thousands remain without power after Hurricane Maria. Above, a woman talks to neighbors in the doorway of her dark apartment in San Juan. There are dwindling supplies of food and water on the island 

Brennan told the president to keep his attention on Puerto Rico where thousands remain without power after Hurricane Maria. Above, a woman talks to neighbors in the doorway of her dark apartment in San Juan. There are dwindling supplies of food and water on the island 

In Carolina, an area of Puerto Rico on Saturday, a supermarket owner surveys the damage at his destroyed business 

In Carolina, an area of Puerto Rico on Saturday, a supermarket owner surveys the damage at his destroyed business 

Kellyanne Conway said Brennan’s remarks were ‘reprehensible’ and unhelpful to the transition of administrations.

He has since lashed out at the president’s treatment of journalists, saying he ought to have been ‘ashamed of himself’ for his comments to one CNN reporter. 

He has also testified that in the lead-up to the election, he became convinced of Russian interference and Putin’s desire for Trump to win. 

Brennan even testified at a House Intelligence Committee hearing in May that he thought there were signs of collusion between Trump’s election campaign and the Kremlin. 

‘I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,’ he said.

Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee in May that he suspected there may have been collusion between members of Trump's campaign team and Russia before the election

Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee in May that he suspected there may have been collusion between members of Trump’s campaign team and Russia before the election

President Trump replaced Brennan with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo (above with the president and Mike Pence in August ) when he took office

President Trump replaced Brennan with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo (above with the president and Mike Pence in August ) when he took office

Brennan was appointed CIA Director by President Obama in 2013 after previously serving as the Director of the Counterterrorism Center under George W. Bush. 

He has faced controversy in the past over his comments on torture and waterboarding, saying in 2014 that some ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ had been ‘useful’ to the CIA in the past. 

JOHN BRENNAN’S STATEMENT  

 ‘Taking a knee during the national anthem shows respect for the flag and for all those who fought and died for it and, at the same time, concern about problems within American society that need to be addressed.

‘Pejorative and caustic comments about the practice show a disregard for one of the most important foundational principles of our great nation — freedom of expression — as well as ignorance of the corrosive impact of conscious and unconscious racial and class bias within our society.

‘It is at times like this that government officials demonstrate that they either have or sorely lack the leadership qualities and values that are needed and expected by the American people.

‘And at all times, the primary responsibility of the President of the United States is to do everything possible to safeguard the lives of American citizens, which is why Mr. Trump should have laser-like focus on mitigating the catastrophic damage of Hurricane Maria on the people of Puerto Rico’  

Brennan has never gone on record to say such techniques ever produced information that no other techniques would be able to. 

He reversed his stance that they were acceptable upon taking the position in Obama’s administration and said that , if he had stayed on as CIA Director, he would have ignore any orders from Trump to conduct it. 

The country remains divided over the NFL protests and whether or not players should be able to carry them out on the field. 

President Trump stubbornly believes and has stated that any player who takes a knee during the National Anthem ought to be fired. He, and the millions who align themselves with his thinking, say the gesture is disrespectful to those who fight and die for the country. 

The other side says it is the players’ right to protest peacefully and that it encapsulates the freedom of the country. 

The debate was ignited by the president at a rally in Alabama last Friday when he called any player who performs the act a ‘son of a b****’. 

Since then, more than 200 athletes have taken a knee on the field as have musicians and stars in other spots in a show of defiance against Trump. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk