Cyber Security

James Clapper on Trump: U.S. institutions are “under assault”

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t hold back his criticism of President Donald Trump Sunday, saying U.S. institutions are “under assault internally.”

When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked, “Internally, from the president?” Clapper responded, “Exactly.”

Clapper said that he believes that the system of checks and balances “is under assault and eroding.”

President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday because Comey was a “showboat,” according to the president. Trump was also reportedly upset with the length and scope of the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia — which in Trump’s estimation is a “made-up story.”

Critics and intelligence officials have expressed their concern over the president’s abrupt firing of Comey, which some have said could constitute obstruction of the bureau’s ongoing investigation.

President Donald Trump recently cited Clapper’s testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee as evidence that there was no collusion between his associates and Russia.

Clapper didn’t say that there was “no collusion,” but rather that he had seen “no evidence” of collusion. (He clarified later in the week, in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he doesn’t know “whether there is evidence of collusion or not.”)

Clapper told CNN that he and Comey spoke about the one-on-one dinner in which Trump reportedly demanded Comey’s loyalty.

“He was — my characterization — uneasy with it,” Clapper told Tapper, “both from the standpoint of the optic of compromising his independence and the independence of the FBI.”

M-F 7:30PM HBO