Former CIA director worried Russia tried to recruit Americans

Former CIA Director John Brennan said on Monday there was enough contact between Americans and Russian officials during the 2016 U.S. election that there was definitely grounds for an investigation into possible collusion with Moscow, and also concern about Russian efforts to recruit Americans.

"I had unresolved questions in my mind about whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf," Brennan testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

Brennan declined to provide any indication about the identity of those people.

Brennan said on Tuesday it became clear last summer that Russia was attempting to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, and that he warned the head of Russia's FSB security service that such interference would hurt U.S. ties.

"It should be clear to everyone Russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process and that they undertook these activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning that they do not do so," Brennan testified at a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

SEE MORE: President Trump reportedly asked top intelligence officials to deny collusion between Russia and Trump campaign​​

Brennan said he believed that Russian officials were motivated in their efforts to impact the election both to hurt Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump's chances, noting their prior "good relations with businessmen."

He also noted that Moscow likely expected Clinton would ultimately win.

RELATED: Russia shows off military strength

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Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Two Pantsir-SA surface-to-air missile system are seen during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moldovan President Igor Dodon attend the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
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Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with veterans after the the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicewomen parade during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicemen parade with Tigr-M (Tiger) all-terrain infantry mobility vehicles and Kornet-D1 anti-tank guided missile systems during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicemen stand atop a tank during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - A Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system is seen during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicemen parade during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian President Vladimir Putin waves hand as he attends the Victory Day military parade marking the World War II anniversary at Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Moscow - Russia - 09/05/2017 - Russian servicemen parade with tanks during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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"I believe that they tried to damage and bloody her before the election," he said, adding that "I would have anticipated that had she been elected that the efforts to denigrate and hurt her would have been continued."

Brennan further said he believed he was the first U.S. official to raise the matter of election interference with the Russians, citing a meeting he had on Aug. 4 last year with FSB head Alexander Bortnikov.

He said he raised published media reports of Russian attempts to meddle in the election with the Russian official, who denied any involvement by Moscow.

Brennan said he briefed then President Barack Obama and other top officials, and that he discussed the matter with both Republican and Democratic U.S. congressional leaders in August and September.

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The conspiracy theories of President Trump and his inner circle
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The conspiracy theories of President Trump and his inner circle

Trump and the 'birther' claim

Trump has made remarks on multiple occasions in his past suggesting former President Barack Obama "doesn't have a birth certificate." Nearing the end of his campaign trail, Trump finally admitted in September 2016 that Obama "was born in the United States."

Here is a 2011 excerpt from his statement on the conspiracy theory surrounding the "birther" claim

"He doesn't have a birth certificate, or if he does, there's something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me -- and I have no idea if this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be -- that where it says 'religion,' it might have 'Muslim.' And if you're a Muslim, you don't change your religion, by the way."

Trump and the wiretapping claim

On March 4, the president accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping the phones at his New York home in Trump Tower in a series of Saturday morning tweets.

"I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!," one tweet read.

FBI Director James Comey later renounced this claim at a rare public House Intelligence Committee hearing.

Trump: China created global warming

On November 6, 2012, Trump tweeted the following:

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

The issues of global warming and climate change have long been proved valid by the science community's vast majority.

Alex Jones' Infowars, Trump tie Sen. Ted Cruz's father to Kennedy assassination

An April 2016 article in Infowars -- a site affiliated with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones -- titled "WAS CRUZ’S FATHER LINKED TO THE JFK ASSASSINATION?" makes the case that Sen. Ted Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, was linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the man believed to have killed John F. Kennedy.

In May 2016, Trump brought up an Enquirer story featuring Cruz's father pictured with Oswald, saying, "I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible."

He brought the storyline up again one day after accepting the Republican presidential nomination in July 2016.

Trump: Obama "founded ISIS"

Trump touted his plan to "bomb the sh*t out of ISIS" many times while on the 2016 campaign stump -- and added to his ISIS rhetoric the claim that then-President Barack Obama "founded ISIS."

Trump outlined this claim in a Florida campaign speech:

"ISIS is honoring President Obama. He’s the founder of ISIS. He founded ISIS. I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton."

Trump also suggested Obama was sympathetic to terrorists in June of 2016.

Trump suggests Justice Antonin Scalia was assassinated

"It's a horrible topic," Trump said of Justice Scalia's death during a radio interview with conservative host Michael Savage. At this point, Trump was entering a space in which Savage had already called for a Warren Investigation into Scalia's death -- the same type of investigation that looked into JFK's shooting. In that context, Trump continued his remarks, saying, "But they say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow. I can’t tell you what—I can’t give you an answer. You know, usually I like to give you answers. But I literally just heard it a little while ago. It’s just starting to come out now, as you know, Michael.”

Alex Jones on Hillary Clinton's mental state

On August 4, 2016, Alex Jones' Infowars published a video titled, "The Truth About Hillary's Bizarre Behavior," in which copy reads, "...Hillary’s conduct also strongly indicates she is a sociopath who has a total lack of empathy for other people."

Jones at one point in August 2016 commented on the system in which Trump would continually pick up talking points from his show, saying, "It is surreal to talk about issues here on air, and then word-for-word hear Trump say it two days later."

Trump: 2016 election is "rigged"

Weeks before 2016 Election Day, Trump appeared on FOX News with Sean Hannity, discussing how the election is rigged because of the "1.8 million people" who vote, even though they're dead.

“You have 1.8 million people who are dead, who are registered to vote, Trump said. "And some of them absolutely vote. Now, tell me how they do that.

After he was elected president, Trump also claimed that there was "serious voter fraud" in the 2016 election, and promised a major investigation into such occurrence.

Roger Stone: Chelsea Clinton needed plastic surgery to hide identity of real father

Longtime Trump friend and political adviser Roger Stone details in his book, "The Clintons' War on Women," that Chelsea Clinton needed "four plastic surgeries" to cover up the identity of her real father, who Stone claims is former Associate Attorney General Webb Hubbell.

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U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Moscow tried to tilt the November presidential election campaign in Republican Donald Trump's favor, including by hacking into and leaking the emails of senior Democrats. Moscow has always denied the allegation.

The early months of Trump's presidency have been clouded by FBI and congressional probes into Russian meddling and possible collusion by Trump's campaign. Trump has denied any collusion.

SEE MORE: Flynn 'lied to investigators' about Russia trip, says top House Dem

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by AOL News)

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