When Donald Trump produced the first list of names for his death list this week, he didn’t include that of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. But Clapper appears to be out to remedy this oversight by pointing out the fact that the Trump campaign didn’t just cooperate with Russia—it’s extremely unlikely Trump would have been elected without Russian support.
As Newsweek reports, Clapper’s just-released memoirs don’t shy away from drawing the obvious conclusion about the impact of the Russian interference and the benefits to Trump. As Clapper writes, “Surprising even themselves, [Russia] swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense and credulity to the breaking point. Less than eighty thousand votes in three key states swung the election. I have no doubt that more votes than that were influenced by this massive effort by the Russians.”
Not only did the intelligence community have the information they needed to see that Russian interference was more than sufficient to cover Trump’s narrow margin of electoral victory—Trump knows it. Because the information Clapper is referencing was included in the first presentation that the intelligence community gave to Trump in January 2017.
Clapper is also clear in exactly why there wasn’t a larger effort in 2016 to fight back against Russia launching a military operation to interfere in a U.S. election.”House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would not support a bipartisan statement that might hurt their nominee for president,” wrote Clapper. “It seemed they had decided by then that they didn’t care who their nominee was, how he got elected or what effects having a foreign power influence our election would have on the nation, as long as they won.”
Trump has referenced Clapper dozens of times in Twitter and in his rally speeches. At first he claimed that the DNI had absolved Trump of any collaboration with Russia, though that wasn’t what Clapper said. Then that Clapper had written a “beautiful letter” praising Trump. But by the time that the Mueller investigation began, Trump listed Clapper among the “liars” who were conspiring against him, including FBI Director James Comey and CIA Director John Brennan. The former DNI also became a frequent target of attacks on Fox News, including by Trump favorites Hannity and Fox and Friends.