The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway is interviewed by FOX News' Tucker Carlson on surveillance of the Trump presidential campaign, the extent that former CIA director John Brennan was involved, and how far it goes.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Well, on Twitter, you may read former CIA head John Brennan spouting off about the political news of the day, attacking the president's dishonesty, he says.
But it turns out Brennan himself is a liar. He's been caught lying, odd for a government official. Last year, for example, Brennan told Congress that the infamous Steele dossier had no influence at all on the intel community's claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Here's a selection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Do you know who commissioned the Steele dossier?
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER HEAD OF THE CIA: I don't.
GOWDY: Did the CIA rely on it?
GOWDY: Why not?
BRENNAN: Because it wasn't part of the corpus of intelligence information that we had. It was not in any way used as a basis for the intel community assessment that was done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Busted! Liar! By the way, Brennan, you should know this, is an NBC and MSNBC paid contributor now, needless to say.
Two top former intel officials, though, dispute his claim, the one you just heard that the dossier formed no part of the corpus of intelligence used by our government to spy on the Trump campaign.
Retired National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers and Former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper both admit now that the Steele dossier and its Clinton campaign-funded allegations did, in fact, influence the intel community assessment. We knew that, but it's nice to hear it confirmed.
Mollie Hemingway is senior editor of "The Federalist" and she joins us tonight.
Mollie, I know you've been following this carefully. A lot of these stories seem to lead back to this guy, John Brennan. And you would think, as the former head of the CIA, he is someone you'd be able to trust, but he seems not only a liar, but an inept one. Am I misreading this?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, "THE FEDERALIST" SENIOR EDITOR: We have a problem with multiple heads of intelligence agencies, and that does include Brennan, who has a history of lying, specifically about spying on American citizens.
So, it's difficult to hold him - take him seriously.
But we've also had problems with falsehoods being set also by James Clapper, who gave inconsistent testimony about his leaking to the media.
And we have also had problems with James Comey himself, whether he understands what a leak is and how he has been involved in it.
But one of the things that's interesting is Clapper and Comey have been so much a part of this story, and we've seen their names a great deal, but Brennan has been able to kind of stay out of the limelight until recently where people are starting to piece together just how integral he was to the entire Russia narrative.
So, for instance -
CARLSON: Please go ahead.
HEMINGWAY: Yes. He actually launched the investigation. He has bragged about how he was involved in launching the investigation.
He also was really key in briefing Harry Reid, which Harry Reid has said he understood that he was being briefed by Brennan specifically so he would leak that information and get it out to the media and also pressure James Comey.
And then, these other things that are interesting that are coming out now about how he claimed that the dossier wasn't used, which made no sense already because we know the dossier was used to secure a wiretap against someone in the Russia investigation.
And also, it just stands to reason that it would have been included, but now we actually have people who do have a little bit more integrity, particularly Mike Rogers saying that, of course, it was used in the intelligence community assessment.
CARLSON: It's becoming clear that a lot of the secrecy surrounding these activities is designed not to protect the United States from foreign threats, but to protect the misdeeds of the people gathering the intelligence. It's CYA.
HEMINGWAY: Yes. It does seem that that has become a big part of the operation. Whether people got in over their heads, whether they were led astray by Brennan and they did things that maybe they shouldn't have done, it does seem that a lot of what we've seen in the last few months is about attempting to keep people from finding out the full extent of what was happening.
Today, "The New York Times" did report based on just a widespread leaking from people who were involved in the investigation that, yes, people are now admitting they were spying on the Trump campaign in a fairly widespread fashion.
It wasn't just Carter Page. It was four top officials. They weren't just using FISA wiretaps. They were also using national security letters and human intelligence. At least one human intelligence source.
So, this is busting wide open and I think people will start demanding a little bit more in terms of just what the FBI and other intelligence agencies were thinking when they began spying on the political campaign of a major party.
CARLSON: Liberals used to be worried about things like this. Not anymore.
Mollie Hemingway, thank you. Thanks for that.