Clapper: Intel officials showed Trump evidence of Putin's role in election meddling

Clapper: Intel officials showed Trump evidence of Putin's role in election meddling
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Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTrump lashes out at former intel officials for criticism of Iran tweet Trump knocks news of CNN hiring ex-FBI official McCabe Conservatives lash out at CNN for hiring Andrew McCabe MORE said Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE was given classified documents in January 2017 that showed Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"We left very highly classified written documents which laid out in more detail the evidence that we had," Clapper said on CNN. "And so the fact that President Putin was directly involved and directly order this and that no big decisions are made in Russia any way without Putin — all that was laid out."

Clapper's comment comes a day after The New York Times reported that Trump was shown information about Russia's election interference at a briefing weeks before his inauguration. The Times reported that Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers and former FBI Director James Comey briefed him on documents that lead them to believe that Putin ordered cyberattacks to disrupt the election.

The Times noted that Trump was "grudgingly convinced" Putin ordered the interference.

Clapper, who served as director of national intelligence from 2010-2017, said on CNN that he remembers the meeting as a "reasonably professional exchange." 

"But I do think there was skepticism from the get-go from that day to this day," Clapper said, referring to Trump.

Clapper later said he wonders "whether the Russians have something on him," based on the president's behavior this week.


The comments from Clapper come during a week in which Trump has made several remarks contradicting the U.S. intelligence community's unanimous assessment regarding Russia's election interference.

On Monday, Trump said he saw no reason why Russia would interfere in the presidential election — remarks he made alongside Putin at a joint press conference in Helsinki. Trump walked back the comment a day later, saying he misspoke, while adding “could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”

When asked on Wednesday if he thought Russia is still targeting the U.S, Trump responded, "no." The White House later said he responded "no" to answering the reporter’s question, not to the question itself.

Trump later said in a CBS interview that he holds Putin personally responsible for election interference. 

“I do have confidence in our intelligence agencies as currently constituted," he said

Last week special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for their alleged role in hacking the Democratic National Committee.