Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Friday there’s no evidence anyone other than the Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential election, undercutting claims President Donald Trump made earlier this week.
“It was only the Russians,” Clapper told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “And they did so very aggressively and effectively.”
Clapper said it was possible others might have meddled, but contended that there “wasn’t any evidence” to support that claim.
While speaking in Poland this week, Trump said he thinks it was Russia that hacked into the election that he eventually won, but went on to say it was “probably other people, and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. … Nobody really knows for sure.”
Clapper said that if Trump didn’t discuss the issue of Russian hacking during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, it would embolden Russia “to continue their activities.”
“Looking ahead to 2018 elections, they’ll be more aggressive about it,” Clapper said.
The ex-intel chief also commented on the community he used to head and said it “will continue to convey truth to power even if the power ignores the truth.”
Trump weakens his position, Clapper said, when he publicly disparages “the very high confidence assessment done by the U.S. Intelligence community.”
“I think in a sense that actually gives strength to Putin’s position as he walks in and sits down for this meeting.”
The former intelligence director also discussed the increased escalation of North Korea this week as it launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile said to be capable of reaching the coasts of Alaska. He said he didn’t think any preemptive military action would be responsible.
"If we were to do that, I think the North Koreans would react reflexively, without deliberation and would rain all that artillery and rocketry on the northern part of South Korea, which is where half the South Korean population lives,” he said.
“That is not a realistic option in my view," Clapper said. "[It would] be very reckless because you’re endangering millions of people and there would be untold death and destruction, I believe, if such a war were to ensue.”