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 ClapperDomestic security is in disarray: We need a manager, now more than ever Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? 140 national security leaders call for 9/11-style panel to review Jan. 6 attack MORE said Thursday that President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for their alleged role in hacking the Democratic National Committee.