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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 Trump 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 TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE's eldest son.

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"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 ClintonWhy does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Republican legislators target private sector election grants How Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 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.