"As far as others doing this, boy, that's news to me", Mr. Clapper, the director of national intelligence from 2010 to 2017, told CNN late Thursday with respect to Moscow's role in last year's White House race.
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Friday slammed President Donald Trump's "inexplicable refusal" to confirm Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying it hinders the US Intelligence Community. "It could have been a lot of people that interfered", Trump said in Warsaw.
Citing multiple current and former United States intelligence officials on Thursday, CNN reported some 150 suspected Russian operatives are in the US.
"I remember it because my fingerprints were on it", Clapper said of the 2002 assessment. Let's check it.' And we did some very heavy research.
That DNI assessment was presented by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the NSA, and Clapper's DNI, but Trump has tried to undermine those assessments as well.
Clapper said he was not sure where the 17 reference in media reports had come from and explained the three agencies - CIA, FBI and NSA - as well as his office handled the matter alone because they were the ones that could contribute relevant intellgience and the sources involved were highly sensitive.
AP, New York Times, LA Times, CNN, NBC's Meet the Press, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and USA Today were just a few major news outlets to repeat the "17 intelligence agencies narrative" even after it had been debunked by James Clapper.
He also called into question a January 2017 report issued by the USA intelligence community that confirmed Russian interference in the 2016 election.
"I see nothing with that statement", he said. We saw no evidence whatsoever there was other - there was anyone involved in this other than the Russians.
Without commenting specifically on the visas, a State Department official told the news network, "Where we do not see eye to eye with Russian Federation, the United States will continue to stand up for the interests and values of America, our allies and our partners".
In early January, the DNI issued a declassified version of the intelligence community assessment.
During the Thursday news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump responded to a query from NBC News' Hallie Jackson about the possibility of Russian interference in the 2016 election.