Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday that President Donald Trump posed a threat "to our system" of democracy through his "assaults on our institutions."
"The president himself has undertaken, whether intentionally or not, assaults on our institutions," Clapper, 76, told Anderson Cooper on CNN.
A retired Air Force lieutenant general, he served under Presidents Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
"To our system, the assaults on the institutions starting with my own, the intelligence community, and his characterization of us as Nazis," Clapper said, referring to Trump's attacks shortly before taking office in January.
"The commentary he has made about the judiciary, and individual judges," he continued. "The assault on the [FBI] are examples that are not constructive for our country."
Clapper characterized President Trump as an "internal source" – versus Russia, which is among several "external sources," because of its meddling in last year's election.
"The big story is the Russian interference in our process," he told Cooper. "They exceeded their wildest dreams and expectations, I am sure, by the discord, doubt and the disruption they have caused in our political process.
"They are emboldened now to be even more aggressive," he continued. "They're not going to stop."
Regarding former FBI Director James Comey's Senate testimony earlier Thursday, Clapper praised it as "riveting, compelling.
"To me, it reinforced the comparison between Watergate and what we confront now.
"Comey's testimony about his interactions with the president and what the president appeared to be trying to get him to do, I thought were quite damning and very disturbing."
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