James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, on Monday told CNN Russia is handling President Donald Trump as an “asset,” reports The Washington Free Beacon.
In intelligence, assets are people within countries or organizations being spied upon and who relay information for an outside spy.
Clapper was on a panel discussing the president’s comments on Russia when CNN host Jim Sciutto asked him about Trump labeling Russia and China as rival powers, but also wanting to build a great partnership with them.
"Is that a contradictory message?" Sciutto asked Clapper.
"Well, it is to me," Clapper said. "I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that's what he's doing with the president."
"You're saying that Russia is handling President Trump as an asset?" Sciutto asked.
"That's the appearance to me," Clapper said.
The U.S. recently tipped off Russia about a bomb threat, thwarting a series of bombings in St. Petersburg. Russian President Vladimir Putin called Trump on Sunday to thank him for the information, and asked the president to convey gratitude to the CIA.
Clapper said the intelligence shared with Russia was a “one-way street,” but the tip was important to pass along.
"I just want to be clear here, though. You're saying that Russia is treating the President of the United States as an asset?" Sciutto asked.
"Well, I'm saying this figuratively," Clapper said. "You have to remember Putin's background. He's a KGB officer. That's what they do. They recruit assets, and I think some of that experience and instincts of Putin has come into play here in his managing a pretty important account for him, if I could use that term, with our president."
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