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Ex-CIA chief calls Trump intel shakeup a 'virtual decapitation' of the intelligence community

Former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanDOJ attorney looking into whether CIA withheld info during start of Russia probe: NYT Federal prosecutor looking into Brennan's role in Russian interference findings: report FISA court's rebuke of the FBI: It broke or ignored the rules and our rights MORE is calling President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE's shakeup in the intelligence community a "virtual decapitation," saying the changes are a "tremendous concern."

"Two nonpartisan national security professionals have been removed at the helm of the intelligence community: Joe Maguire and then Andrew Hallman," Brennan said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday. "That is a virtual decapitation of the intelligence community."

His comments come after Trump ousted his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireStorm clouds loom as Trump loyalist Grenell becomes acting intelligence chief Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama Trump says he is considering four candidates for intelligence chief MORE, and installed German ambassador Richard Grenell as his new acting intel chief.

Grenell has begun making immediate changes in his new role, including saying the No. 2 official in the Director of National Intelligence office, Andrew Hallman, was no longer needed.

The shakeup comes after reports that Trump was frustrated with Maguire and alleged his disloyalty after House lawmakers were briefed last week on Russian interference in the 2020 election to help reelect Trump.

Brennan, a vocal Trump critic who served under Presidents Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMeghan McCain after Gaetz says Trump should pardon Roger Stone: 'Oh come on' Enlightening the pardon power The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate MORE, George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFive takeaways from new fundraising reports for 2020 Democrats Obama sends birthday wishes to John Lewis: 'Thanks for making good trouble' The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate MORE, has joined others, most notably top Democrats, in criticizing the latest shakeup.

"And now who is going in there? Someone who has no experience, no credentials as far as the intelligence community is concerned, Richard Grenell," he said Friday. "The intelligence professionals can only see this as another example that they are not being allowed to do their job."

Brennan added that he hopes intelligence professionals "continue to do their best... despite the headwinds that they are feeling coming from the White House."

Trump has since denied the reports Russia is interfering on his behalf in the 2020 election, accusing Democrats of "trying to start a rumor" as well as a "disinformation campaign."

On Friday, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Prominent Texas Latina endorses Warren Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' MORE (I-Vt.) confirmed that U.S. intelligence officials briefed him about Russian attempts to interfere in the election, with The Washington Post reporting that the effort was aimed at helping his campaign.