“You really got a hold on me’

Saying he believes the country is already in a constitutional crisis, former Fox News national security analyst Col. Ralph Peters gave his first interview since leaving Fox to Anderson Cooper Wednesday night.

“Even Senator Joseph McCarthy never directly attacked the Constitution,” he said.

Cooper said Peters referred to a “cult of Trump.”

“Yeah, I think a lot of Trump supporters are so embarrassed by how it has turned out, that they just cling to him,” he said. “They won’t let facts penetrate their reality. I am startled by relatively educated people and military veterans who still insist that Trump can do no wrong. That he is some sort of messiah, and I part company with their views.”

“You have first-hand experience with how Russian intelligence operates, do you believe that Vladimir Putin has some grip on Trump,” Cooper said.

“I am convinced that Vladimir Putin has some grip on Trump. When I first learned of the Steele dossier, it rang true to me,” Peters said.

“That is how the Russians do things. And before he became a candidate for president, Donald Trump was the perfect target for Russian intelligence. Here is someone who has no self-control, a sense of sexual entitlement and intermittent financial crisis. Made to order for seduction of Russian intelligence. I hope I am wrong.”

He said when Christopher Steele put together his dossier, “when you look at Trump’s behavior patterns, his unwillingness to create problems with Russia even as he attacks NATO, how can he not draw the conclusions that President Trump, the president of the United States, is frightened of Vladimir Putin and his grip?”

“Without exaggeration, the Mueller investigation is the most important of my lifetime, and I am 66 years old. I lived through Watergate. Anderson, it is about a fundamental assault on the Constitution by the president of the United States.”