On Sunday’s rendition of NBC’s Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd spoke to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, as well as Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Before asking Clapper to weigh in, Todd provided viewers with a brief timeline of the Trump administration’s contacts with Russian officials.
The Meet the Press host then went on to ask Clapper about Trump’s senior White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s communications with Russian officials. Clapper responded, saying:
‘I have to say that, without specifically affirming or confirming these conversations, since, even though they’re in the public realm, they’re still classified, just from a theoretical standpoint, I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on, and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians. If you put that in context with everything else we knew the Russians were doing to interfere with the election, and just the historical practices of the Russians, who typically — almost genetically driven — to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever — which is a typical Russian technique, so we were concerned.’
Clapper went on to say that it’s worrisome for Kushner to be in contact with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak:
‘Given the fact that he oversees the very aggressive intelligence operation in this country, the Russians have more intelligence operatives than any other nation that is represented in this country, still even after we got rid of 35 of them – and so to suggest that he is somehow separate or oblivious to that is a bit much.’
Clapper went on to add that, although there may not have been direct evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia, there was enough to warrant an FBI investigation into the matter. The former DNI didn’t mince words when it came time to remind Republicans that, despite what Trump says, Russia isn’t an ally of the United States.
Watch Clapper’s comments in the clip below, via YouTube:
Featured Image is a screengrab via YouTube.