Partnership for Public Service / Flickr james clapper...
Partnership for Public Service / Flickr

Every time Sean or Sarah or Hope or Kellyanne or any other Trump surrogate talks, they’re quick to say that everyone agrees that there’s no connection between Donald Trump and Russia. Of course, that’s not what anyone is saying. If there was already proof positive of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, we wouldn’t need to do an investigation, just an impeachment. However, unlike people shouting “lock ‘er up!” real investigators are obliged to gather evidence and question witnesses before laying final charges. The justice system is funny that way.

One of those “everyones” that Sean, Sarah et. al. are fond of putting down in the Donald Trump did nothing wrong column is former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. But Clapper is tired of being included in that list.

Clapper previously testified before a Senate judiciary subcommittee that he was not aware of any evidence demonstrating collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia — but he also said he had been unaware of an FBI investigation into the matter until former FBI Director James Comey announced it publicly at a House hearing in March.

See “not aware of any evidence of” does not equal “there is not.” Clapper is merely stating that he’s not aware of any definitive proof while he was in office—but then, he wasn’t even aware that there was an FBI investigation. But he has some pretty definitive thoughts on the things he was following at the time.

“There’s been a long history of interference going back to the Soviet era in our elections, but never, ever has there been a case of the aggressiveness and direct actions that the Russians took and their conduct of a multifaceted campaign to interfere with our election,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday on “New Day.”

Team Trump will surely modify “I was unaware” to “there is nothing there.” It’s what they do. But they might start getting used to the idea of first investigation, then charges, then … who knows? Because that’s how Robert Mueller is likely going to work his role as special counsel.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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