I believe Putin on election meddling. Intel leaders: You're getting "played".

Former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.   Screenshot  CNN

Brennan told CNN on Sunday that it's clear the Russians interfered in the USA election based on US counter intelligence findings made available to Trump, making it all the more puzzling as to why the president doesn't acknowledge that and counter Putin's denials.

Brennan blasted Trump Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" for attempting to downplay the conclusions reached by the USA intelligence community, namely that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election for the objective of backing Trump.

During Trump's trip to Asia, Trump told reporters that he believed Putin was being honest when he said at a meeting Saturday in Danang, Vietnam, that Russian Federation had not interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election.

CNN host Jake Tapper asked Clapper if Obama made a mistake to not make a "bigger public deal" of the efforts at the time, but Clapper responded that hindsight fell into the "coulda, woulda, shoulda" department. "And to try to paint it in any other way is, I think, astounding and, in fact, poses a peril to this country".

"I found it particularly reprehensible that on Veterans Day Donald Trump would attack and impugn the integrity and the character of Jim Clapper, who served in uniform for 35 years", said the ex-CIA chief.

Trump told reporters as he flew from Da Nang to Hanoi in Vietnam that he's done confronting Putin over the issue and took him at his word that Russian Federation did not seek to interfere in the election.

Update 12:55pm CT, Nov. 11: The CIA released a statement in response to Trump's claims, saying that Director Mike Pompeo stands by the intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election.

Clapper agreed: "It's very clear that the Russians interfered in the election, and it's still puzzling as to why Mr. Trump does not acknowledge that and embrace it and also push hard against Mr. Putin".

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Trump on Saturday reignited the controversy, when reporters asked if he discussed Russian interference with Putin while meeting at the Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who came on the show minutes after Brennan and Clapper, then pushed back. And like Senator McCain, really did put his life at risk because of this country's national security.

"I think he is very insulted by it", Trump added.

"I think the intelligence community, law enforcement, have their counterintelligence antennae up all of the time, and i think we did a pretty admirable job", Brennan said. "So it's very worrisome", said Brennan.

"Considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor", Brennan said. "They're not", Mr. Clapper said.

Clapper acknowledged the detrimental effect of Trump's continued attacks on the US intelligence community, but he said the intelligence community would forge ahead regardless.

The intelligence community released an unclassified version of its assessment in January, saying Putin ordered the election meddling to hurt Hillary Clinton's candidacy and bolster Trump's successful bid. "I had no direct evidence of collusion", Clapper said Sunday.