In the midst of significant bipartisan blowback from his joint press conference with Putin, video of Tucker Carlson's Trump interview features the president hitting back at a pretty serious claim about his behavior. Ex-CIA Director John Brennan drew national attention after calling Trump's defense of Putin over his own intelligence community "treasonous" in a tweet. And sure enough, Trump responded characteristically in the interview that aired the following day.
In an interview taped on Monday evening immediately after the Helsinki summit, Trump concluded that Brennan was supposedly a "bad guy." The president said,
I think John Brennan is a very bad guy, a lot of things happened under his watch, I think he’s a very bad person. I think if you watch Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, when you look at all the things that have happened, Comey, if you take a look at that and McCabe who’s got problems I assume — you look at the deception, the lies and what’s gone on in the last fairly long period of time. Before I won.
Long before I won, during the campaign. I guess probably during the Republican when I was fighting against 17 other Republicans — so this has been going on for a long time. These are people that in my opinion are truly bad people. They are being exposed for what they are and it’s a shame that it has to happen but it’s really hurt our country.
Trump's fury in his interview with Carlson seemed to stem directly from the singular tweet that Brennan unleashed in the wake of the joint press conference between Trump and Putin.
Brennan tweeted on July 16, "Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???"
To be clear, Brennan wasn't the only person to slam Trump for his behavior at the Helsinki Summit. In fact, several notable Republicans spoke out against Trump with equally strong criticisms: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) described the summit as "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory", while several other Republicans (even some who have rarely criticized the president in the past) reiterated this belief in more mild packaging, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But it was Brennan who Trump decided to slam during the interview, presumably because of the singular word Brennan used that others didn't: "treasonous."
By now, Trump has a relatively consistent habit in using the phrase "bad guy" as a description for the people who he perceives to have wronged him (as seen in the video below).
In the wake of the Capital Gazette shooting in Maryland, Trump denounced the news media as "really bad people".
"I see the way they write," Trump said at a campaign rally in Montana, following the shooting. "They're so damned dishonest. And I don't mean all of them. Because some of the finest people I know are journalists. Really. Hard to believe when I say that."
The "treasonous" behavior in question that Brennan was referencing was when Trump chose to defend Putin's innocence over the findings of his own intelligence community. Going into the conference, Special Counsel Robert Mueller had just delivered an indictment of 12 Russian nationals for their role in hacking Democrats' emails during the 2016 election.
Trump has since claimed that he misspoke slightly during the joint press conference.
"In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't,'" the President said Tuesday. "The sentence should have been: 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia. Sort of a double negative."