Clapper: "A Good Thing" If FBI Had Someone "Observing" Russian Interactions With Trump Campaign

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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's Don Lemon Thursday night that the president's claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign is "hyperbole" but if it is true, it is a "good thing."

"They [the Obama admin's FBI] may have had someone who was talking to them in the campaign, but, you know, the focus here... is not on the campaign, per se, but what the Russians were doing," Clapper said.

But if there was an intelligence agent "observing" the Trump campaign's interactions with Russia, "that's a good thing because the Russians posed a threat to the very basis of our political system."





"I think it's hugely dangerous if someone like that is exposed," Clapper said of the yet-unnamed spy inside the Trump campaign.

At the same time Thursday night, former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova was telling FNC's Tucker Carlson a different side of the story: "We have learned that the crimes were committed by the FBI, senior members of the Department of Justice, John Brennan, Mr. [James] Clapper, Mr. [James] Comey and others associated with the Democratic Party... And Donald Trump and his associates committed no crimes."








Transcript:

DON LEMON, CNN: Yeah, director, here's what the president tweeted this morning. He said, "Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI spied on the Trump campaign with an embedded informant. Andrew McCarthy says there's probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign. If so, this is bigger than Watergate."

That is an extraordinary claim. Based on your experience, what is the likelihood that it's true?

JAMES CLAPPER: Well, I think it's -- this is hyperbole. Hyperbole. They may have had someone who was talking to them in, uh, in the campaign, but, you know, the focus here, and as it was with the intelligence community is not on the campaign, per se, but what the Russians were doing to try to instantiate themselves in the campaign or influence or leverage it.

So if there was someone that was observing that sort of thing, that's a good thing because the Russians posed a threat to the very basis of our political system. And I think it's hugely dangerous if someone like that is exposed because the danger to that person, not to mention, the reluctance of others to be informants for the FBI, and the FBI gains a lot of valuable information from informants, so to me, this is incredible.

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