Clapper: US institutions are 'under assault' by Russia and Trump

Days after former FBI Director James Comey's firing, former Director of National Intelligence, or DNI, James Clapper has said that U.S. institutions are "under assault."

He made the comment during an interview Sunday, telling CNN's Jake Tapper, "The developments of the past week are very bothersome, very disturbing to me. I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally—that's the big news here: Russian interference in our election system—and I think our institutions are under assault internally."

When Tapper asked, "internally from the president?" Clapper responded, "Exactly."

Clapper himself has been under scrutiny lately, with Trump tweeting Friday, "When James Clapper...and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?"

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide threats to America and our allies" in Capitol Hill, Washington February 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, left, and Director of the National Security Agency Admiral Michael S. Rogers, talk before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States,' January 5, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, prepares to testify before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States,' January 5, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement accompanied by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford after a meeting with Obama's national security team at the Treasury Department in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (L) and United States Cyber Command and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers prepare to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. The intelligence chiefs testified to the committee about cyber threats to the United States and fielded questions about effects of Russian government hacking on the 2016 presidential election.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on foreign cyber threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 5, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement at the National Counterterrorism Center in Mclean, Virginia, December 17, 2015. Standing with the President (L-R) are: Nicholas Rasmussen, Director, National Counterterrorism Center, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, James Clapper, Director, Office of National Intelligence, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary John Kerry, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and James Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigations.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

CIA Director John Brennan (L) and the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, (R) prepare to testify at a House (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on "World Wide Cyber Threats" on Capitol Hill in Washington September 10, 2015.

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies about 'world wide cyber threats' during an open hearing of the House (Select) Intelligence Committee at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center September 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. Clapper said that the budget uncertainty of sequestration has posed a challenge to how the United States faces cyber attacks from countries like China that could undermine U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (R), enters the hearing room with the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services chairman, John McCain, (R-AZ) (C) at the Dirksen Senate Office Building February 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. Clapper and Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart , the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, both testified on a range of topics including Muslim extremist groups and cyber threats to U.S. security.

(Photo by Evy Mages/Getty Images)

US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (L) greets French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve prior to meetings at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in McLean, Virginia, February 19, 2015.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

James Clapper (L), Director of National Intelligence listens to testimony during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, October 2, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on oversight of the foreign intelligence surveillance act.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper (L) and Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano (R) share a few words before US President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on June 21, 2013 to announce his nomination of Jim Comey to be the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Comey, a deputy attorney general under George W. Bush, would replace Robert Mueller, who is stepping down from the agency he has led since the week before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

(PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper (3rd R) leaves a joint closed door meeting with the Senate and House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, on June 7, 2012 in Washington, DC. The joint Intelligence committee met with Clapper to discuss administration leaks of classified information.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

From left, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director David Petraeus take their seats for the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In this photo provided by The White House, (L-R) National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper listen as Leon Panetta, Director of the CIA speaks during a meeting in the Situation Room on May 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama's national security team held a series of meeting to discuss Osama bin Laden.

(Photo by Pete Souza/White House Photo via Getty Images)

US Director for National Intelligence James Clapper (L) speaks with FBI Director Robert Mueller at the launch of the strategy to combat transnational organized crime at the White House in Washington on July 25, 2011. The United States Monday unveiled a series of sanctions aimed at cracking down on international organized crime, including gangs from Russia, Japan and Mexico and the Italian Mafia.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

CIA Director Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and FBI Director Robert Mueller testify during a hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee February 16, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The hearing was to discuss the U.S. intelligence community's assessment of threats to national security.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies during a hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee February 16, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The hearing was to discuss the U.S. intelligence community's assessment of threats to national security.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller, Office of National Intelligence Director James Clapper, Centeral Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta testify before the the House (Select) Committee on Intelligence at the U.S. Capitol February 10, 2011 in Washington, DC. While testifying to the committee, Panetta confirmed that he had intelligence that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may be stepping down today. The U.S. intelligence leaders testified to the committee in an open hearing about 'world wide threats' before moving into a closed briefing.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama stands alongside retired General James Clapper, Obama's nominee for director of national intelligence, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, June 5, 2010.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The Senate Select Intelligence Committee holds a confirmation hearing to hear the testimony of nominee James Clapper to fill the vacancy of director of National Intelligence (DNI), on Capitol Hill Tuesday July 20, 2010.

(Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images) 

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However, the same day as the president's tweet, Clapper told MSNBC, "I don't know if there was collusion or not. I don't know if there was evidence of collusion or not, nor should I have in this particular context."

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, meanwhile, has accused Clapper of "changing" his story.

When asked about Clapper contradicting Trump's tweet, Spicer said during a press briefing on Friday, "his testimony and comments on multiple occasions prior to today was, I have no evidence that there was any collusion, right? So to suddenly today shift his story, I believe that the question should be asked to him: You were the Director of National Intelligence, you said multiple times, including in testimony in front of Congress, under oath, that there was no collusion."

On Sunday, Clapper reiterated this position to Tapper, telling him, "The bottom line is, I don't know if there was collusion, political collusion, and I don't know of any evidence to it, so I can't...refute it, and I can't confirm it."

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