GOP report: Clapper told CNN host about Trump dossier in 2017

GOP report: Clapper told CNN host about Trump dossier in 2017
© Greg Nash

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Former DHS, intelligence leaders launch group to protect presidential campaigns from foreign interference Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief MORE has admitted to lawmakers that he discussed the "Steele dossier" about President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE and Russia with a CNN journalist in early 2017, according to a report from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.

The journalist Clapper spoke with was CNN host Jake Tapper, whose name appeared on a bombshell report in January 2017 that first revealed that former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBarr predicts progressive prosecutors will lead to 'more crime, more victims' James Comey shows our criminal justice system works as intended Trump says he's 'very strongly' considering commuting Rod Blagojevich's sentence MORE had briefed Trump on the dossier's salacious allegations.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee on Friday released the results of their yearlong investigation into Russia's election meddling. The GOP-authored document — denounced by Democrats as a partisan whitewash — found no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia.

House Republicans interviewed Clapper for the report. They say that Clapper at first “flatly denied” leaking the contents of the dossier, but later admitted to discussing the dossier with Tapper and other journalists in early January of 2017, shortly before Trump’s inauguration.

"Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the 'dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,' and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists abut the same topic," the Republican report says. "Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in 'early January 2017,' around the time [intelligence officials] briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump, on 'the Christopher Steele information.' ” 

Clapper has been a vocal Trump critic, questioning his fitness for office and warning that law enforcement officials and the intelligence community are “under assault” by the president.

According to Comey’s personal memos, Clapper asked him to brief the president on the contents of the dossier, which he did before the inauguration. His memos say Comey warned Trump that "media like CNN had [the dossier] and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important we not give them an excuse to write that the FBI has the material."

The Jan. 10, 2017, CNN report had bylines from Tapper, Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto and Carl Bernstein. 

Shortly after CNN’s report, BuzzFeed News published the dossier in full.

Trump has blamed the intelligence community for leaking about the meeting and the dossier. Clapper released a statement at the time saying that he had assured the incoming president that neither he nor anyone in the intelligence community was responsible for the leak. 

“I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security," Clapper said.

Clapper joined CNN as a national security analyst in August of 2017. CNN’s reporters will receive an award at the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner on Saturday night for the report about the dossier.

“These four journalists and a number of other CNN reporters broke the story that the intelligence community had briefed President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaForget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Obama shares summer reading list MORE and then-President elect Donald Trump that Russia had compromising information about Trump,” the WHCA website says. “The CNN team later reported that then-FBI Director James Comey personally briefed Trump about the dossier. Thanks to this CNN investigation, 'the dossier' is now part of the lexicon.”