Clapper: Trump distorting my comments is Orwellian

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperRetired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law Former NSA chief breaks with other ex-intel officials over Brennan letter MORE on Thursday hit back at President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE for claiming that Clapper admitted that the FBI had spied on the Trump campaign.

Clapper told Axios that Trump’s most recent tweet making the allegation shows that Trump “deliberately spun” his comments.

The former intelligence chief said the FBI had sought to determine what Russian figures were doing during the 2016 election, but did not spy on the Trump campaign.

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“I mean this is George Orwell — up is down, black is white, peace is war. That's exactly what I didn't say,” Clapper told Axios on Thursday.

“I took aversion to the word 'spy.' It was the most benign version of information gathering. The important thing is the whole reason the FBI was doing this was concern over what the Russians were doing to infiltrate the campaign, not spying on the campaign,”

“Of course, he turned that completely upside-down in his tweet, as he is wont to do,” Clapper added.

Trump had tweeted earlier Thursday that Clapper had “admitted” to the FBI "spying" on his campaign. 

Trump and his allies have pushed for more details about an FBI source who reportedly met with three advisers to the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. 

"They were spying on, a term I don't particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence — which is what they do," Clapper said of the FBI's efforts during an appearance Wednesday on ABC's “The View.”

The president has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that the Obama administration embedded a "spy" in his campaign to help Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC Clinton: Hard to ignore 'racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says' MORE win the 2016 election. Trump demanded over the weekend that the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the matter.

The DOJ reached an agreement with the president on Monday to allow the department’s inspector general to investigate allegations of FBI wrongdoing in the Russia probe.