James Clapper, formerly the director of National Intelligence, said during a Memorial Day interview that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 presidential election with unprecedented aggressiveness.
“Across the board, the aggressiveness in this campaign was unprecedented,” Clapper told CNN’s “New Day.”
He added: “I think as –, an American citizen should be very concerned about a foreign government, particularly our primary adversary, interfering with the most important foundational process that we have in this country, which is free and fair elections.”
Still, beyond claiming that the hacked political organizations and saying they also used “very sophisticated, slick propaganda efforts” to sway the election results, Clapper didn’t present any new evidence to back Democrat claims of interference.
He did, however, remind viewers of the U.S.’s long-strained relationship with the country.
“There’s been a long history of Soviet and, interference, going back to the Soviet era, in our elections,” Clapper said. “But never ever has there been a case of the aggressiveness and the direction actions that the Russians took and their conduct of a multifaceted campaign to interfere with our election.”
Why doesn’t the intelligence community have better evidence to back claims of Russian election interference?
Clapper says the agencies involved in getting to the bottom of the claims “lack the authority” to examine voter information to determine whether the alleged efforts had any actual outcome on the election.
The former Intelligence director also said that he saw no evidence of “collusion” between the Trump people and Russian operatives before he left his post.
But “that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any,” he added.
By Clapper’s reading of the situation, then, we’re sort of right back where we started.
Democrats claim Hillary Clinton’s loss was caused by Russian interference. There’s no clear evidence. And everyone’s just shouting “Russia” in hopes that the theory will stick.
California Republican Rep. David Nunes, who found himself at the center of an ethics probe over the Russia hacking nonsense earlier this year, suggested that the whole thing is a smokescreen.
Democrats, Nunes said during a recent fundraising dinner, are simply attempting to drag the controversy out to keep Trump’s White House mired in controversy. And as the theory gets closer to being revealed as a politically motivated fraud, Nunes wagers that it’ll be Democrats who sabotage the inquiry.
“The Democrats don’t want an investigation on Russia. They want an independent commission,” Nunes said.
He added: “Why do they want an independent commission? Because they want to continue the narrative that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are best friends, and that’s the reason that he won, because Hillary Clinton would have never lost on her own; it had to be someone else’s fault.”
In other words, the lawmaker is saying that politicians would lack control over messaging if a straightforward investigation were to occur. An independent commission, meanwhile, is tied closely to the political process despite the name suggesting otherwise.
“They’ve never been serious about it, and one of the great things now that I’ve stepped aside from this Russia investigation, I can actually say what I want to say,” Nunes said.