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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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."