Former DNI Clapper Told Committee: ‘I Didn’t Have Any Evidence…of Collusion’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | April 27, 2018 | 5:24pm EDT
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (Screen Capture)

( - When former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper met with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on July 17, 2017 as part of the committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Clappers aid he had no evidence of collusion between the Russian and the Trump campaign.

This fact is included in the committee’s final report, which was released today in redacted form.

The committee report notes that after issuing 20 subpoenas, interviewing 73 witnesses and reviewing “approximately 307,900” documents, it “found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.”

Referencing its closed-door July 17, 2017 interview with Clapper, the committee reports: “reaffirming his prior public statements, he told the committee that, ‘I didn’t have any evidence—I don’t care how you want to caveat it—of collusion.’”

The committee reported Clapper’s statement in the explanation for its finding that: “When asked directly, none of the interviewed witnesses provided evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”

The committee’s finding continued:

--The committee interviewed high-ranking current and former government officials, along with numerous Trump campaign members, Trump administration officials, and other Trump associates. None of the witnesses testified they had any evidence of collusion between the campaign and anyone affiliated with the Russian government. In most of the committee’s witness interviews, the witness was asked directly for any evidence of ‘collusion, coordination, or conspiracy’ with any element of the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This question asked with respect to the witness’ own actions; the actions of candidate Trump; the actions of anyone officially affiliated with the campaign; or the actions of anyone unofficially affiliated with the campaign, defined as including ‘wannabes,’ hangers-on,’ and ‘people who represented themselves as being part of the campaign.’ Each witness was given wide latitude in answering these questions, but non produced any evidence. For example, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner stated categorically that the Trump campaign ‘did not collude, cooperate, whatever other ‘C’ word you used, with any foreign governments.”

--Several former government officials testified that, even though there was no evidence of collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government, they were aware of contacts and interactions of potential concern. For example, former CIA Director John Brennan stated in open session, “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals, and it raised questions in my mind…whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.” Brennan continued, however, “I don’t know whether or not such collusion…existed.”

--Similarly, former DNI James Clapper stated that he was aware of the same information to which Brennan referred, “that my dashboard warning lights were on just because of that.” However, reaffirming his prior public statements, he told the committee that, “I didn’t have any evidence—I don’t care how you want to caveat it—of collusion.”



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