Michael V. Hayden, the former director of both the CIA and National Security Agency, cautioned against removing President Trump from office in an interview that aired Friday.

“I think impeachment would be a bad idea,” Mr. Hayden told Hill.TV.

“If President Trump is somehow forced to leave office before the end of his first term […] one-third of America will believe it was a soft coup,” added Mr. Hayden, a career intelligence official who retired in 2009 after leading the CIA under former President Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

An outspoken critic of the president, Mr. Hayden warned against impeachment in light of prosecutors securing convictions this week against Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former personal attorney and election campaign chairman, respectively.

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