In a new piece for the NY Post, Emily Jacobs breaks down how statements by Obama’s top brass about Trump-Russia “collusion” were quite different under oath than their public statements.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has emerged as a staunch Trump critic and paid-CNN contributor since leaving his government role, told the committee during a July 2017 interview that he “never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting [or] conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.”
“That’s not to say that there weren’t concerns about the evidence we were seeing, anecdotal evidence…[redacted],” Clapper continued, “But I do not recall any instance when I had direct evidence of the content of these meetings. It’s just the frequency and prevalence of them was of concern.”
Just two months prior to his sworn testimony, the former DNI said in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that his “dashboard warning light was clearly on,” regarding potential communications between Russians and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.
“I have to say that, without specifically affirming or confirming these conversations — since, even though they’re in the public realm, they’re still classified — just from a theoretical standpoint, I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians,” Clapper told host Chuck Todd at the time.
One month later, Clapper stated that the Russia investigation had surpassed that of Watergate, referencing the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972 that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon.
“I think if you compare the two that Watergate pales, really, in my view, compared to what we’re confronting now,” Clapper told reporters during a trip to Australia.
In December of 2017, Clapper said on CNN that Vladimir Putin is a “great case officer,” continuing, “he knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president.”
As recently as 2019, the former intelligence community head alleged “it was a possibility” that the commander in chief was a “Russian asset,” “whether witting or unwitting” during a February CNN appearance.
ndrew McCabe, former deputy director of the FBI and current CNN contributor, became a very public foe of the president after he was fired in March 2018. In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” on February 17, 2019, McCabe recalled a meeting with President Trump in the early days of the administration, saying, “I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency, and won the election for the presidency, and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage and that was something that troubled me greatly.”
Prior to his days as a cable news pundit, however, the FBI official told the House Intelligence Committee that investigators had not been able to verify claims made in the Steele dossier, the unverified reporting that claimed the president was compromised by Russia, ultimately forming the basis for investigations of the matter.
“What is the most damning or important piece of evidence in the dossier that you now know is true?” McCabe was asked during his December 2017 interview.
“Well, as I tried to explain before, there is a lot of information in the Steele reporting. We have not been able to prove the accuracy of all the information,” he answered.
Pressed further to confirm that he did not know if Christopher Steele’s dossier was true, McCabe said, “That’s correct.”
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice told ABC’s “This Week” in July 2018 that questioning if President Trump was compromised by the Russians was “legitimate” because Putin was benefitting by the commander in chief’s policy decisions.
“What his motivations are I think is a legitimate question … the policies that this president has pursued globally have served Vladimir Putin’s interests,” she said at the time.
Less than a year earlier, however, Rice told House investigators that she hadn’t seen evidence proving then-candidate Trump coordinated or colluded with Russia to take the 2016 election.
“I don’t recall intelligence that I would consider evidence to that effect that I saw prior…to my departure,” she said when being questioned by former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
Read more here.