Clapper: 'You Have to Wonder' About a Political Motive in Newest Probe of FBI

By Susan Jones | May 14, 2019 | 11:16am EDT
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

( - James Clapper, who served as Director of National Intelligence when the FBI launched its Trump-Russia probe, suggested on Tuesday that politics may be motiving the newest investigation, which focuses on how the FBI's Trump-Russia probe got its start.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr has assigned John Durham, the United States Attorney in Connecticut, to look into the origins of the FBI's Trump-Russia investigation.

Clapper told CNN the "logical thing to do" would be to wait for the Justice Department inspector general to finish his investigation into the FBI’s actions.

“Are you concerned here that these administration officials and the attorney general are doing this for political reasons?” host Jim Sciutto asked Clapper.

"Well, you have to wonder about that," Clapper said.

Is there a political dimension? This obviously complies with the longstanding request of President Trump that the investigators be investigated.

As far as I know...when I was DNI, I didn't see anything improper or unlawful. And I think we're losing sight here of what the big deal is, which is the Russians. That's what started all this.

The predicate for this was what the Russians were doing to engage with the Trump camp. And now we know that there were dozens of such encounters or attempts, many by identified Russian operatives.

So to me, the kind of the implicit message here is, well, it would have been better if we ignored the Russian’s meddling, which I think would have been completely irresponsible.

President Trump and his allies have spent two years complaining about what he calls a politically motivated “witch hunt” into imagined collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.

The Mueller report concluded there was nothing criminal about the “series of contacts between Trump Campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government.”

According to Mueller:

"Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

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