After Trump's Latest Attack on Mueller Former CIA Director Suggests Frightening Possibility.

Excerpts from this article first appeared in the New York Times. 

It was not immediately clear on Wednesday which remarks of Mr. Dershowitz’s the president was quoting. An interview with Mr. Dershowitz on Fox News on Tuesday and an opinion piece by Mr. Dershowitz published on Wednesday did not include the exact phrasing that Mr. Trump used in his tweets. And the language was not found in a search of Mr. Dershowitz’s cable news appearances over the past week.

Separately, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” John O. Brennan, a former C.I.A. director, speculated that the Russians “may have something on him personally,” referring to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Brennan was the C.I.A. director when a salacious dossier surfaced in 2016 that claimed the Russians had compromising information on Mr. Trump. There has been no proof that such material exists, but Mr. Trump’s affection for the Russian leader has raised questions about the nature of their relationship.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump congratulated Mr. Putin on his re-election and made no mention of the election meddling. Mr. Trump has routinely issued statements about Russia and Mr. Putin that sound at odds with his own advisers and administration actions.

“I think he’s afraid of the president of Russia,” said Mr. Brennan, now retired from government service and a critic of Mr. Trump.

On Saturday, Mr. Brennan attacked Mr. Trump on Twitter after the president tweeted about his excitement over the firing of the deputy director of the F.B.I., Andrew G. McCabe.

“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,” Mr. Brennan wrote.

For months, Mr. Trump personally attacked Mr. McCabe, a 21-year veteran of the F.B.I. and former deputy director. Mr. McCabe briefly served in the top role after Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the president’s first F.B.I. director. Mr. McCabe was fired on the eve of his retirement, which puts his government pension in jeopardy. After the firing, it was disclosed that Mr. McCabe kept memos on Mr. Trump, which Mr. Mueller’s investigators can access.