It was good for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to contact President-elect Donald Trump concerning the leak of a dossier of unsubstantiated negative information on the president-elect's ties to Russia, but the intelligence community overall needs to show more respect for the nation's incoming leader, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Thursday.
"He is the elected president," Huckabee told Fox News' "America's Newsroom," calling another news outlet, which he did not name, to task for a headline asking how Trump could repair relationships with the intelligence community.
"The real question is how can the intel community repair [its relationships] with Trump? He is the president; he was elected, they weren't. The call from Clapper was a big plus, but I do believe there has to be a depoliticization of the intel community. The leaks have to stop."
It is always tricky starting a new administration, Huckabee conceded, because new leaders are appointed while the same office employees remain.
"The bureaucrats at local, state or federal level say it: 'We were here when you came. We'll be here when you leave. Have a good time, but we're still going to be here,'" Huckabee said. "To a large degree that's always the tension in any changeover of power."
However, he said he does believe there will be pushback for that attitude from Trump and his secretaries and staff, "and they will try to clean up this total mess. The 'drain the swamp analogy,' and it is something that needs to happen, needed to happen a long time ago."
There are great people in the intelligence community, Huckabee said, and it is unfair "a few political people in those agencies have really sullied the reputation of what really should be a sterling kind of reputation for intel."
Meanwhile, Huckabee said he believes the ongoing confirmation hearings are going well, but he does think the Democrats who have been taking on attorney general-nominee were "deplorable, to borrow a term from Hillary [Clinton]. They had praised him, worked with him, and they turned very partisan. But it's part of the game."
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