One former official who has been the subject of the president’s taunts had choice words for him on Twitter. John O. Brennan, a former C.I.A. director who now refers to himself as “a nonpartisan American who is very concerned about our collective future,” attacked the president’s character on Saturday.
“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history,” wrote Mr. Brennan, whom Mr. Trump once called “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington.” “You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”
Throughout history, presidents have found themselves in private conflict with members of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Bill Clinton clashed with Louis J. Freeh, who oversaw the F.B.I. during the Lewinsky scandal. Richard M. Nixon fired the independent special prosecutor in the “Saturday Night Massacre,” and his attorney general and deputy attorney general resigned in protest.
But those tense interactions seem almost quaint compared to the public mudslinging unfolding now.
“We’ve never had anybody so blatantly go after a president before,” Gary J. Schmitt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who was once an intelligence adviser to President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. “It’s also unprecedented to have a president so overtly going after various intelligence officials.”