Clapper: Ryan and McConnell didn't care about election interference as long as Trump won

Clapper: Ryan and McConnell didn't care about election interference as long as Trump won

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTrump-Russia collusion did affect an American election — the one in 2018 Winners and losers from Mueller's initial findings Fox News host: MSNBC, CNN the 'real agents of Putin' MORE accuses Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Dem candidate says he faced cultural barriers on the campaign trail because he is working-class Former House candidate and ex-ironworker says there is 'buyer's remorse' for Trump in Midwest Head of top hedge fund association to step down MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Dems look for traction following Barr-Mueller findings Senate GOP eyes probes into 2016 issues 'swept under the rug' Senate gears up for Green New Deal vote MORE (R-Ky.) in a new book of not caring about foreign interference in the 2016 election as long as President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos claims he was pressured to sign plea deal Tlaib asking colleagues to support impeachment investigation resolution Trump rips 'Mainstream Media': 'They truly are the Enemy of the People' MORE won.

In his new book, “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence,” released Tuesday, Clapper hammers the GOP leaders for not taking a harder stance on Russian meddling in the presidential race.

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Clapper, who was former President Obama’s senior intelligence adviser for more than six years, writes that Ryan and McConnell were approached by the Obama administration in 2016 to sign a joint statement condemning foreign interference, according to an excerpt published by National Public Radio.

But the Republican leaders rejected the offer, saying they would not endorse a “bipartisan statement that might hurt their nominee for president."

"I was disappointed but not surprised. It seemed they had decided by then that they didn't care who their nominee was, how he got elected or what effects having a foreign power influence our election would have on the nation, as long as they won,” Clapper wrote.

Clapper notes that he and then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did eventually release a joint statement about Russian interference — but it was quickly overshadowed by the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape, in which Trump is heard speaking crudely about grabbing women without their consent.

"I saw that our efforts ended up having all the impact of another raindrop in a storm at sea,” Clapper wrote.

Trump has called special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election a “witch hunt,” and he called on Sunday for the Department of Justice to investigate whether the FBI surveilled his campaign.

Clapper said Monday that Trump’s demand was a “disturbing assault” on the department's independence.

"I think when the president — this president or any president — tries to use the Department of Justice as a kind of private investigatory body, that’s not good for the country," Clapper said on CNN's "New Day."

A spokesperson speaking for Ryan and McConnell denied Clapper’s claims, contending that the 2016 White House meeting involved discussion about “a letter to the states warning against attacks during the election.” 

“Mr. Clapper has his facts wrong,” the spokesperson said. “What was discussed with the White House staff in September was a letter to the states warning against attacks during the election, which was quickly drafted and sent on September 28th."

Updated Wednesday at 11:38 a.m.