Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell denounced President Donald Trump as an "unwitting agent of the Russian Federation" in August. On Wednesday he cast doubt on claims that Trump has been colluding with Russia.
"On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all," he said at an event sponsored by intelligence website Cipher Brief, according to NBC News.
"There's no little campfire, there's no little candle, there's no spark. And there's a lot of people looking for it."
He noted that former National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in early March that he did not see any evidence that Trump colluded with Russia during his time in office.
"That's a pretty strong statement by General Clapper," Morell said. He also addressed the intelligence dossier from former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which contributed to reports of Trump having a special relationship with the Eastern country.
"I had two questions when I first read it. One was, How did Chris talk to these sources? I have subsequently learned that he used intermediaries," he said.
"And then I asked myself, why did these guys provide this information, what was their motivation? And I subsequently learned that he paid them. That the intermediaries paid the sources and the intermediaries got the money from Chris. And that kind of worries me a little bit because if you're paying somebody, particularly former FSB officers, they are going to tell you truth and innuendo and rumor, and they're going to call you up and say, 'hey, let's have another meeting, I have more information for you,' because they want to get paid some more.
"I think you've got to take all that into consideration when you consider the dossier."
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