Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says Russian interference decided the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.
“To me, it just exceeds logic and credulity that they didn’t affect the election, and it’s my belief they actually turned it,” Clapper, DNI during the Obama Administration, told PBS NewsHour.
He explained that the Kremlin “bent on undermining our fundamental system here. And when a foreign nation, particularly an adversary nation, gets involved as much as they did in our political process, that’s a real danger to this country”.
Clapper also pushed back on Donald Trump’s attempt to divert the Trump-Russia investigation with the false claim that the FBI put a “spy” inside his campaign.
Calling the allegations “distortions”, the intelligence official said:
There is a “a big gulf between a spy in the traditional sense — employing spycraft or tradecraft — and an informant who is open about … who he was and what the questions he was asking.
The important thing was not to spy on the campaign but rather to determine what the Russians were up to. Were they trying to penetrate to campaign, gain access, gain leverage, gain influence, and that was the concern that the FBI had?…I think they were just doing their job and trying to protect our political system.
Stefan Halper, a UK-based American academic, met three Trump campaign officials in 2016 as the FBI tried to ascertain the extent of any Russian influence.
One of three, Carter Page, had been under FBI scrutiny as a possible Russian agent since 2013. George Papadopoulos was in contact with a London-based, Kremlin-linked academic to arrange a Trump-Putin meeting and then about Russia’s provision of thousands of e-mails damaging Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The third official, Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis, brought Page and Papadopoulos into the campaign and encouraged the latter’s activities.