Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Chuck Todd on Sunday that his "dashboard warning light was clearly on" when asked about what he knew about communications between Russians and Jared Kusher.
"I have to say that, without specifically affirming or confirming these conversations — since, even though they're in the public realm, they're still classified — just from a theoretical standpoint, I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community," Clapper said during an exclusive interview on NBC's "Meet The Press."
I have to say, at the time I left, I did not see any smoking gun certitude evidence of collusion. But it certainly was appropriate for — given all the signs — certainly appropriate for the FBI — and necessary for the FBI to investigate," Clapper said.
CHUCK TODD: Alright, let me go through the issue that has been the bombshell this weekend, this issue that Jared Kushner, at the time private citizen, yes, a private advisor at the time to the president-elect was having these meetings with the Ambassador to Russia Sergey Kislyak and they hid these meetings from public eye. We also learned that he met with the head of a sanctioned Russian bank. You were still the director of national intelligence in December. Are these things that you would have known?
FMR. DIR. JAMES CLAPPER: Well, yes they would have and just to reinforce John Brennan's, former director of central intelligence agency, his comments before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and I have to say that, without specific...specifically affirming or confirming these conversations, since, even though they're in the public realm, they're still classified, just from a theoretical standpoint, I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians. If you put that in context with everything else we knew the Russians were doing to interfere with the election. And just the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique. So we were concerned.
CHUCK TODD: And this is what's likely triggered the FBI's now extra attention to Jared Kushner that we've been reporting - that they believe he has more information. They're saying he's not a target. It would have been intelligence like this that would have triggered it?
FMR. DIR. JAMES CLAPPER: Well, I think so. And I think John alluded to his concerns that he expressed to the FBI, which is the proper channel. I have to say, at the time I left, I did not see any smoking gun certitude evidence of collusion. But it certainly was appropriate for - given all the signs - certainly appropriate for the FBI to - and necessary for the FBI to investigate.