Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is now an "incoherent mouthpiece" as President Donald Trump's attorney, and his characterization of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as a "lynching mob" is "unfortunate," former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday.
"I think this sort of characterization is really unfortunate, inappropriate, unfair, and dishonest," Clapper, now a CNN national security analyst, told the network's "New Day." "This is part of a larger campaign, in which Mr. Giuliani fully acknowledged, to undermine the investigation."
During an appearance on Fox News' Hannity Wednesday night, Giuliani slammed the investigation, saying there is a "a lynching mob, so let them do their job. And boy we're ready to knock the heck out of you with our report which will be authoritative, it will be backed up, it will be backed up with law and facts."
He also said that Clapper is responsible, to some extent, for an FBI informant placed with the Trump campaign being called a spy, and Clapper took offense to that as well.
"I'm not sure why Rudy Giuliani would refer to a clown, which is what he characterized me last Sunday, as an authority on anything," said Clapper. "He is deliberately misinterpreting what I said. There is a huge difference between the use of an informant and a spy, a term I've never liked anyway, because it had none of the trappings of trade craft, not using a person that was formerly trained as a case officer or using any of the techniques and procedures that would be used that a so-called spy would use. I think it's a deliberate distortion just to sustain the narrative."
Clapper said he's never had any direct interactions with Giuliani, even after the 9/11 attacks, but that's how he prefers to remember the former mayor.
"Your mention of 9/11 is the preferred image that I want to keep of Rudy Giuliani and the inspirational leadership he provided to New York City, not only New York City, but the entire nation," said Clapper. "I prefer to remember him that way than the way he's conducting himself now."
Clapper also discussed a book coming out from Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama, in which Clapper writes that Obama had wanted to issue a statement warning of Russian interference a month before the election. However, Rhodes claims that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to go along with the bipartisan statement.
"My book has much the same account," said Clapper of his own newly released book. "There was a great deal of discussion because of the allegations of rigging, which the candidate Trump was then espousing, that anything that the president did would be viewed as political and he would be putting his hand on the scale and favor one candidate to the disfavor of the other. I think Ben's exactly right. My book comports with his account."
But it was also Republicans in general that stood in the way of releasing a bipartisan statement, claimed Clapper.
"I know Denis McDonough, who was the chief-of-staff was seeking that from the Congress," said Clapper. "In fact, I remember one occasion where there was a briefing team sent to the hill to brief about the Russian interference and the team was instructed not to be used as pawns by the Obama administration in the political run up to the election."
However, Clapper said that he and others issued a "pretty forthright" statement himself about Russian meddling, but it got buried on the same day the "Access Hollywood" audiotapes were revealed, so "our message sort of got lost."
Clapper also discussed the visit between Mike Pompeo and North Korean vice-chairman Kim Yong Chol in New York City, telling CNN that he himself had sat down with Kim in the past, under much different circumstances.
"He was in a different capacity in uniform when I met with him," recalled Clapper. "He hosted the meal, which itself was wonderful. A 13-course Korean meal, was one of the best Korean dinners I've ever had but the conversation was very terse, tense, nasty. He displayed great animosity toward the United States, Americans and me."
He said Kiim now has a different role to play, but he finds it ironic that he's been appointed to make arrangements for the summit.
And when asked if he trusts Kim, Clapper responded that with the North Korean regime, "you definitely need to be in the trust but verify mode."
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