Tags: Donald Trump | Media Bias | Russia | Russia Probe | Trump Administration | statement | collusion

Clapper on Trump's Role in Russian Statement: 'Orwellian'

CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360"

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Aug 2017 09:54 PM

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Tuesday that reports President Donald Trump dictated the initial statement his eldest son gave on his meeting with a Russian lawyer last year "has sort of a chilling, Orwellian aspect."

"It has the effect of casting more doubt on the credibility of what they say," Clapper, 76, who served under former President Barack Obama, told Anderson Cooper on CNN. "I worry about that, and what's the definition of truth?

"This has sort of a chilling, Orwellian aspect — with the minister of information putting out a set of facts which don't comport with the ground truth."

The Washington Post reported Monday that President Trump personally dictated the statement Donald Trump Jr. gave to The New York Times on July 8 regarding his June 2016 meeting with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya under the guise of obtaining damaging information on Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The statement was debunked three days later when Trump Jr. himself released emails ahead of the meeting at Trump Tower confirming it was arranged in hopes of receiving the negative data.

In light of the report, Clapper told Cooper "the bigger issue is the image, the optic of a lack of faith, a lack of trust in what the White House says by this drip, drip, drip — and the daily drama of some other revelation, which sort of comes out halfway.

"Then, there's the back and forth in the White House press briefing," he said.

"This is a very regrettable pattern and a huge distraction to the country in light of all the other issues and problems we have to deal with.

"It's very disturbing when even before an extremist situation you have doubts about the truthfulness and the credibility of what leadership in this country is saying.

"And that's a terrible commentary," he said.

Regarding Russia, Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, cautioned Americans must remain focus on what Moscow's true objectives are regarding the U.S.

"What people have a tendency to forget is the tremendous threat that Russia poses to us," he told Cooper. "They do pose an existential threat to us.

"They're embarked on an impressive modernization of their strategic weapons. They have the most sophisticated cyber capability of any adversary, and they're in violation of the IMF treaty.

"They are not interested in helping," Clapper warned. "They are interested in undermining us and our system."

He also called for direct talks with North Korea in reaching a diplomatic solution to the nuclear ambitions of dictator Kim Jong Un.

"I gave a speech in Seoul last month, which I suggested that we give some consideration to opening up an intersection in Pyongyang, much like we had in Havana, to deal with a government that we didn't recognize.

"Apart from the advantage of having an in-residence diplomatic presence would help us understand what's going on in North Korea," Clapper said.

"And, importantly, be a conduit for information to North Korea."

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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Tuesday that reports President Donald Trump dictated the initial statement his eldest son gave on his meeting with a Russian lawyer last year "has sort of a chilling, Orwellian aspect."
statement, collusion, meddling, james clapper
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2017-54-01
Tuesday, 01 Aug 2017 09:54 PM
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