Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper believes Donald Trump is an illegitimate president. In fact, in his new book, Facts and Fears, Clapper writes that he has “no doubt” about it in an excerpt Rachel Maddow read on MSNBC Tuesday night.
“Of course, the Russian effort affected the outcome. Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense, and credulity to the breaking point,” Maddow read from Clapper’s book.
“Less than eighty thousand votes in three key states swung the election,” the excerpt continues. “I have no doubt that more votes than that were influenced by this massive effort by the Russians.” (emphasis added)
In other words, the director of National Intelligence for the last seven years—given all the classified information he knows about Russia’s extensive effort—has personally concluded “the current president of the United States was only installed in office because of a successful Russian intelligence operation,” as Maddow noted.
More simply put, Trump wasn’t legitimately elected by the American people.
Two days after Maddow read those first excerpts, Trump has manufactured a “spy” lie about Clapper, tweeting that he “admitted there was spying in my campaign.” Let’s be real, the only spying “in” Trump’s campaign came from the Russian assets Trump hired to staff it. And Clapper said nothing of the sort. In fact, Clapper categorically denied the FBI was spying on Trump’s campaign during a Wednesday appearance on The View.
“No, they were not. They were spying on, a term I don’t particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence, which is what they do,” he responded.
Trump has concocted the idea that the FBI “spied” on him precisely because he thinks that is more seedy than the truth—the FBI felt compelled to use an informant to ascertain whether Russia had infiltrated Trump’s campaign because there were so many red flags streaming out of it. The AP writes:
“Trump told one ally this week that he wanted ‘to brand’ the informant a ‘spy,’ believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public.”
Trump is admittedly dangerous. He’s an expert brander who’s a serial liar with no conscience and no master but his own self-aggrandizement.
But that’s not the salient point here. Clapper’s message is that Trump should never have even had access to the levers of power that he’s now pulling to his heart’s delight.