Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Fmr Intel Chief: Trump 'Assaulting' Institutions Created By Founders

Fmr Intel Chief: Trump 'Assaulting' Institutions Created By Founders

President Trump has faced vast criticism following the sacking of James Comey, with former director of national intelligence James Clapper calling it an assault on democracy.

Citing Russian influence in the USA election, Clapper told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" that outside forces were responsible for weakening the US government.

Clapper said that he believes that the system of checks and balances "is under assault and eroding". "I think in many ways our institutions are under assault", Mr Clapper told CNN's Face the Nation on Sunday.

"The president has a chance to clean up the mess he mostly created", he said, adding, "I have no evidence that the president colluded with the Russians at all. but we don't know all the evidence yet".

Comey's congresional testimony, along with that of ex-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, reportedly ticked off President Trump. Trump has repeatedly cited Clapper in both tweets and interviews to support his contention that his campaign did not collude with Russian Federation. 'So I can't refute it and I can't confirm it'.

The Senate must confirm a new FBI director once Trump names a candidate; that FBI director will take a lead role in the Russian Federation investigation. At a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing earlier this month, Clapper clarified that statement, saying he was also unaware of the FBI's investigation into the matter until Comey made it public in March. I did not know about the investigation, ' Clapper said again on Sunday.

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In short, the FBI's investigation could still produce evidence of collusion.

What Trump glommed onto is the fact that 'there was no reporting in that intelligence community assessment about political collusion, ' Clapper explained.

Lawmakers from both parties reprimanded Trump's actions, which included shifting explanations from the White House for Comey's dismissal and an ominous tweet by Trump that warned Comey against leaks to the press because he may have "tapes" of their conversations.

"Whatever decisions that some may disagree with that Director Comey made I don't think there's any question, certainly not among rank and file in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, about his leadership and his character and his integrity".

'I do know that it came as a great shock to, it was very disturbing to FBI employees, I spoke to one last night at a dinner that was quite upset about it and I think that reflects the feeling, the widespread feeling in the FBI, ' Clapper said.

"I can't say, I think each senator or congressman has got to, I hope, will think in terms of their own conscience", he said, adding, "I hope they'll speak up".

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