Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper slammed Donald Trump’s fabrication that he admitted the FBI spied on Trump’s campaign as an Orwellian distortion: “up is down, black is white, peace is war. That’s exactly what I didn’t say.”
Trump has spent the week pushing his ‘spy’ lie because Clapper, who spent the last seven years as DNI director, has personally concluded Trump wasn’t legitimately elected by the American people. Just take a second to imagine what a massive blow it is to Trump to have one of the top intelligence chiefs in the nation, with access to all the intelligence community’s best information, saying Trump never would have won without the Russians. Just think about the way that’s festering in Trump right now like a black hole.
In response, Trump has claimed Clapper confirmed his fantasy that the FBI was ‘spying’ on his campaign when, in reality, Clapper categorically denied it. “No, they were not,” he told The View.
Trump continued tunneling down his own self-created rabbit hole Friday morning with more truly useless tweets on the matter. But don’t bother with them—Clapper’s observation about the entire flap is much more worthy of your time. Here’s what Clapper told Axios about Trump’s interpretation of what he said:
“He deliberately spun it, distorted it. I mean this is George Orwell — up is down, black is white, peace is war. That’s exactly what I didn’t say. I took aversion to the word spy, it was the most benign version of information gathering. The important thing is the whole reason the FBI was doing this was concern over what the Russians were doing to infiltrate the campaign, not spying on the campaign. Of course, he turned that completely upside-down in his tweet, as he is wont to do.” (emphasis added)
The important thing to remember is simply how freaked out the FBI and CIA were by the unprecedented number of contacts between Team Trump and a hostile foreign power, which was simultaneously executing a massive influence campaign in the election.