CNN’s Michael Smerconish spoke with former head of the NSA and CIA Gen. Michael Hayden Saturday, in the wake of reports that White House senior advisor Jared Kushner tried to establish a backchannel with the Kremlin.
Smerconish started by asking Hayden if Kushner’s actions struck him more as the result of “nefarious” intentions, or “naiveté.”
“Well Michael right now I’m going with naiveté, and that’s not, particularly, very comforting for me,” Hayden responded.
“I mean what manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, contempt would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or an appropriate idea,” he added. “So again, naiveté doesn’t make me feel good about many things.”
Hayden pointed out that the talks could have been borne out of President Donald Trump’s distrust for the previous administration, noting that was nonetheless dumbfounding, in the light of accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia: “here you are willing to risk the perception of secret communications with your alleged co-conspirator because you feared the existing government so much.”
“Boy Michael, that suggests we’re in a really dark place as a society,” Hayden said.
Smercornish went on to ask about Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s likely response to Kushner, with Hayden stating the request to set up a backchannel “goes so far out of the norm that [Kislyak] was probably shocked.”
Watch above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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