Clapper on ‘The View’ fires back at Trump: ‘I didn’t lie’
James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, fired back Tuesday at President Trump’s claim that he is a “lying machine.”
Appearing on ABC’s “The View,” Clapper denied that he had misled Congress when he testified on the spying activities of the National Security Agency in 2013, saying he had simply “made a mistake” when responding to a question.
“The president’s calling me a lying machine,” Clapper said. “Well, okay. What that stems from is an exchange I had with Sen. [Ron] Wyden [D-Ore.] five years ago in March of 2013 about a surveillance program, and he was asking me about one, and I was thinking about another. So I made a mistake. I didn’t lie.”
Co-host Meghan McCain pushed back and argued that Clapper did lie when asked about the NSA program.
“What you’re referencing though … when you’re talking about James Snowden blowing the whistle on the NSA illegally spying. And in 2013 when you were asked about it, you said no, so that is a lie.”
“No, it isn’t a lie. I’m sorry. It isn’t a lie. I was thinking about something else, another program. I can get into the technical details. He was asking about the metadata program and the euphemistic way he asked about it, I didn’t break the code,” Clapper said.
Clapper said he had testified to Congress on various occasions for more than 20 years, and mocked the idea that he would lie about Snowden and the NSA to senators overseeing his work.
“But gee, just for a change of pace, I think I’ll lie on this one question, and by the way, do it on live television in front of one of my oversight committee,” he said to applause from the audience.
Trump’s tweet at Clapper, who has been a vocal critic of the president, occurred on April 28.
“Clapper lied about (fraudulent) Dossier leaks to CNN” @foxandfriends FoxNews He is a lying machine who now works for Fake News CNN,” Trump wrote.
“Clapper lied about (fraudulent) Dossier leaks to CNN” @foxandfriends FoxNews He is a lying machine who now works for Fake News CNN.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2018
In March 2013, Clapper testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee not long after Edward Snowden provided The Guardian newspaper a trove of documents on the NSA’s collection of domestic call records and data on internet communications.
“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?” Wyden asked.
“No sir,” Clapper replied. “Not wittingly.”
Clapper, 77, announced his resignation one week after Trump won the 2016 election. Former President Obama appointed him director of national intelligence in 2010.
Clapper signed with CNN as an analyst in August.