Tags: james clapper | us | institutions | under assualt

Clapper: 'Our Institutions Are Under Assault Externally and Internally'

CNN's "State of the Union"

By    |   Sunday, 14 May 2017 10:35 AM

The U.S. institutions of intelligence are "under assault" externally from Russia's interference in our elections and internally from President Donald Trump, who is "eroding" our system of checks and balances, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday.

"The developments of the past week very bothersome, very disturbing to me," Clapper told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The State of the Union." "I think in many ways, our institutions are under assault externally, and that's the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system.

"And I think as well our institutions are under assault internally."

Tapper pressed Clapper if "internally" meant President Trump.

"Exactly," Clapper responded.

Clapper denounced Trump's inferences from comments Clapper made when Trump erroneously tried to spin them to into an argument of innocence in a presidential tweet Friday.

"The bottom line is, I don't know if there was collusion, political collusion, and I don't know of any evidence to it, so I can't refute it, and I can't confirm it," Clapper told Tapper.

Clapper, who was the Director of National Intelligence during te Obama administration, said he had no knowledge of whether the FBI investigation included President Trump or his campaign officials. That does not mean there is no evidence — he just had no knowledge of it — a key distinction President Trump ignored at his convenience, he told Tapper.

Story continues below the video.

Tapper also asked Clapper about former FBI Director Jamey Comey's dinner with President Trump in January, one that made Comey "uneasy."

"[Comey] mentioned to me the invitation he had from the president for dinner, and that he was — my characterization — uneasy with it, both from the standpoint of the optic of compromising his independence and the independence of the FBI," Clapper told Tapper.

Clapper added he did not know what they discussed during the meeting and could not confirm whether a question of "loyalty" was breached. Comey's firing, though, has had a negative impact, Clapper said.

"[The FBI is] a national treasure, and it's very disturbing to me that the negative morale impact this event has had," Clapper said.

Clapper also piled on his criticism of President Trump's "assault" on our American institutions.

"The founding fathers in their genius created a system of three co-equal branches of government, and a built-in system of checks and balances, and I feel as though that's under assault and is eroding," Clapper added.

In an ensuing appearance on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, Clapper said: "Russians have to be celebrating."

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The U.S. institutions of intelligence are "under assault" externally from Russia's interference in our elections and internally from President Donald Trump, who is "eroding" our system of checks and balances, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said...
james clapper, us, institutions, under assualt
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2017-35-14
Sunday, 14 May 2017 10:35 AM
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