Clapper on Election Hacking: 'It Was Only the Russians'


Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Thursday said he saw no evidence that any entity except Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election, despite President Donald Trump's equivocation on the matter.

Congress has a duty to acknowledge Russia's interference in the 2016 election so we can take steps to prevent the same from happening again.

"Well I think it was Russian Federation, and I think it could have been other people and other countries", Trump said.

The president went on to say that the excuse given by Obama's camp was that the former president "choked".

The timing, officials said, likely has to do with the sanctions former President Barack Obama imposed on the country for meddling in said election.

For example, the intelligence arms of the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Coast Guard would not be expected to collect intelligence related to Russian interference in an election, said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. "Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure".

Trump also seemed to write off the intelligence community's ability to make assessments, stressing that "mistakes have been made" in the past, noting the USA intelligence community's mistake in claiming Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction prior to the Iraq War.

Clapper said he has "no doubt at all" that Russian Federation will try to interfere in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Trump's comments on Thursday weren't the first time he's invoked Iraq, either, when trying to cast doubt on Russia's culpability and undermine the intelligence community's findings. Trump contradicts that excuse by saying "His people said he choked". When the Central Intelligence Agency announced in December 2016 that it had definitively concluded that Russian Federation intervened in the election to try to help Trump, the then-president-elect dismissed the conclusion - while inflating the size of his electoral win. "And that's been going on for a long period of time".

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) is pushing for the House to affirm the intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

When it comes to the public's trust, a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that more Americans have a "great deal" of trust in institutions like the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation than in the Trump administration or other institutions, like Congress and the press.

Our article referred to an October 7, 2016, joint statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security that presented a preliminary conclusion about Russia's involvement in the election.

Whether the government of Russian Federation attempted to maneuver the presidential elections or not, when Obama was given the Intel back in August, the information should have been shared. That 25 percent may or may not include the president himself, despite repeated assertions from his own intelligence chiefs.