Two of the country’s highest ranking former intelligence officials took President Donald Trump to task on Sunday for his continued refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, a stance that they say puts the United States in danger.
“Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy and our whole process,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union. “And to try to paint it in any other way is, I think, astounding and poses a peril to this country.”
Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan were responding to comments Trump made on Saturday during his five-nation tour of Asia. Trump criticized multiple congressional and special investigations underway into Russia’s interference, claimed that his campaign did not collude with the Russians, and suggested that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t interfere in the 2016 election despite findings to the contrary by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Brennan told CNN on Sunday that it’s clear the Russians interfered in the U.S. election based on U.S. counter intelligence findings made available to Trump, making it all the more puzzling as to why the president doesn’t acknowledge that and counter Putin’s denials.
Trump’s attacks on Clapper, Comey and Brennan as “Political hacks” are part of his effort to delegitimize the intelligence community’s assessment, said Brennan.