Former intelligence chief Clapper: Trump Jr. meeting was 'classic, textbook Soviet and now Russian statecraft'

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday that the Russians who met with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems win from coast to coast Falwell after Gillespie loss: 'DC should annex' Northern Virginia Dems see gains in Virginia's House of Delegates MORE Jr. in June 2016 to discuss information they said came from the Russian government employed "classic, textbook Soviet and now Russian tradecraft." 

Clapper, who served as the director of national intelligence in the Obama administration, said in an interview on MSNBC's "Hardball" that the Russians had a "soft approach" in meeting with President Trump's eldest son.

"They had two objectives here," he told Matthews. "One was to determine whether those close to then-candidate Trump would be interested in talking with them and receiving dirt on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore Papadopoulos was in regular contact with Stephen Miller, helped edit Trump speech: report Bannon jokes Clinton got her ‘ass kicked’ in 2016 election MORE."

"And point two was plausible deniability," Clapper added. 

The meeting between Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner, then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer came after Trump Jr. was told in an email that the meeting would include information from the Russian government meant to support his father's presidential campaign.