Former CIA Director Michael Hayden anticipates many more indictments – including those of Americans – to come in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Appearing on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” on Friday, Hayden expressed his belief that today’s indictments against 12 Russian officers are not the end.
“The richer in detail we get, the more I begin to believe that we’re probably going to be seeing a widening circle (of indictments) here,” Hayden said.
Hayden, who was CIA director under President George W. Bush, added that he “would not be surprised” if future indictments were of Americans, citing the seemingly deliberate move to not explicitly deny American involvement in today’s indictment.
“The indictment clearly says, we take no view on whether Americans were involved,” he explained. “It doesn’t say there were no Americans involved.”
Earlier today, White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said the indictments are “consistent with what we have been saying all along.” On Twitter, Trump’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani deemed the indictments “good news,” and called for Mueller’s investigation “to end.”
President Donald Trump called the investigation a “rigged witch hunt,” which “really hurts our country, and it really hurts our relationship with Russia.”
Hayden described Trump’s reaction as a “style of speaking and acting … where (Trump) gets to create his own reality for … the utility of the moment.”
“Here, we’ve got this magnificent read of very rich detail that he still characterizes as a ‘witch hunt,’ ” he said.
What Trump must recognize, Hayden said, is the importance of his words, and in particular those uttered on July 26, 2016, when Trump expressed hope that Russia would “find the 30,000 emails that are missing” from Hillary Clinton – which, as the indictment states, is what Russian hackers actually tried to do on that day.
“At a minimum,” Hayden said, “it’s very clear evidence that if you say really stupid things, even as a candidate, you put yourself in jeopardy. … (And) that’s where the President is.”