Wednesday night on CNN, Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said it is conceivable that then-candidate Donald Trump was picked up in a wiretap of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Is it possible the president was picked up in a conversation with Paul Manafort?
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DNI: It's certainly conceivable.
LEMON: Is it likely?
CLAPPER: I can't say. I wouldn't want to go there, but I will say it's possible.
The next day, Clapper told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd he can't speak officially, as he had retired, but that his department did not oversee a wiretap on candidate Trump. He added he could not speak on behalf of the other 3 intelligence agencies authorized to do so.
"The president's allies say the fact that Manafort was wiretapped proves that the president was right to accuse the former president of wiretapping him and you were wrong. What's your response?" Lemon asked Clapper.
"Well, again, I stand on that statement that you just replayed and I cannot comment on the media reporting, which is all we have, about a FISA warrant allegedly lodged against Mr. Manafort. I can't comment on that. I will simply reiterate what I said in March, and I stand on that," Clapper responded.
Clapper told Lemon he did not know about a FISA warrant against Manafort and once again that he stands by what he said on Meet the Press.
"I stand on what I said on the 5th of March on Meet the Press," the former intelligence director said.
"Again, I have to say that what we have is media reporting only. And actually, commenting on -- FISA's are classified and so, you know, even if I knew something about it I couldn't [talk about it] and I don't. And again, I will just conclude by saying I stand on what I said on the 5th of March," Clapper told Lemon.
On March 4th the president-elect tweeted, "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Here's what Clapper said in that March 5th, 2017 interview on MTP:
CHUCK TODD: Let me start with the President's tweets yesterday, this idea that maybe President Obama ordered an illegal wiretap of his offices. If something like that happened, would this be something you would be aware of?
JAMES CLAPPER: I would certainly hope so. I can't say-- obviously, I'm not, I can't speak officially anymore. But I will say that, for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against-- the president elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign. I can't speak for other Title Three authorized entities in the government or a state or local entity.
CHUCK TODD: Yeah, I was just going to say, if the F.B.I., for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for a surveillance, would that be information you would know or not know?
JAMES CLAPPER: Yes.
CHUCK TODD: You would be told this?
JAMES CLAPPER: I would know that.
CHUCK TODD: If there was a FISA court order on something like this.
JAMES CLAPPER: Something like this, absolutely.
CHUCK TODD: And at this point, you can't confirm or deny whether that exists?
JAMES CLAPPER: I can deny it.
CHUCK TODD: There is no FISA court order?
JAMES CLAPPER: Not to know my knowledge.
CHUCK TODD: Of anything at Trump Tower?
JAMES CLAPPER: No.