Former CIA Director Says Trump Is Afraid of Putin and That Russia Might Have Leverage Over President

The former director of the CIA said Wednesday he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin might have some kind of leverage over President Donald Trump that leaves the U.S. leader scared when the two interact.

Former CIA Director John Brennan's statement came just after Trump reportedly congratulated Putin in a phone call on his election win—in what is largely considered a sham election—despite a note from his national security advisers that read, in all caps, "DO NOT CONGRATULATE."

"I think he is afraid of the president of Russia," Brennan said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "One could speculate as to why. The Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult. Clearly, I think it's important for us to improve relations with Russia, but the fact that he has had this fawning attitude toward Mr. Putin, has not said anything negative about him, I think continues to say to me that he does have something to fear and something very serious to fear."

'He is mean-spirited; he is dishonest; he has shown a lack of integrity.' -- Fmr. CIA Director John Brennan on the president.

— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) March 21, 2018

Brennan has become a regular critic of Trump and also said in the appearance on MSNBC that the president firing special counsel Robert Mueller—something folks are speculating seems more and more likely—would trigger a constitutional crisis.

"I think the president has shown a lack of understanding of international affairs as well as a real ignorance of what it takes to be president of the United States," Brennan said. "He is mean-spirited, he is dishonest, he has shown a lack of integrity, and he has continued to, I think, demean the office of the presidency."

Trump was doing his usual routine Wednesday morning, angrily tweeting about the latest news. In a typo-ridden post, he agreed with claims made on Fox News by lawyer Alan Dershowitz that there never should have been a special counsel investigating Trump's connections to Russia in the first place.