FNC: James Clapper says that he has 'no doubt' Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election. FOX News senior political analyst Brit Hume shared his perspective on Wednesday's edition of The Story with host Martha MacCallum.
MACCALLUM: You know, your thoughts on -- you know, for instance, in the beginning, I guess, this is a question of spy versus informant because there seems to be a lot of agitation in the press and at the White House over which word is appropriate here.
HUME: Well I don't think, we're dealing with a professional. I don't think that anyone that we've heard about was James Bond. On the other hand, remember at the time this was going on, the FBI was conducting a counterintelligence investigation. That which is to say the FBI was acting as it's -- in its capacity as our domestic, domestic spy agency.
So people who are providing information secretly to the FBI are obviously spying. Now they think as I say, they may not rise to the level of James Bond, but they're spying.
MACCALLUM: Well, what do you think about James Clapper, you know coming out now and talking about the fact that -- you know, he's very unhappy. He says, "After I left government service, I had my own decision to make. I had not planned to write anything but after experiencing the election and the behavior by and the impact of the Trump administration, I changed my mind."
HUME: Well, I think he has a personal antipathy toward Donald Trump, shared widely among certain intelligence professors -- professionals. Certainly, John Brennan has that feeling and one can imagine, certainly, that James Comey does as well.
So, yes, there's that motivation. But I think, you have to really look carefully at what Clapper has said. He is now claiming as you mentioned to Eric Swalwell that the Russians were decisive in the election.
I worry about a man who was once considered a serious intelligence analyst reaching that conclusion because -- you know, all of -- all the deep dives that have been done into what the Russians did during the election I've indicated, yes, they tried. But what they spent and what they did was utterly dwarfed by all the other efforts, all the other spending, all the other advertising, all the other messaging, all the other campaigning that was done on both sides of that campaign.
And it is -- it is seems unbelievable that someone could come to the conclusion that, that what the Russians did is big as -- not as big as they wanted to be, perhaps, but they thought was big, but it was actually minuscule. But that could have made a difference. It's just not -- it's just not plausible.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, they have -- they have charged 13 Russians with -- you know a campaign, into open up lots of different accounts to get on social media which is something that you know I think is pretty clear that they wanted to influence. Let's take a look at another, another piece of the book by James Clapper. Another quote from the book, and put it on the screen.
It says, "Of course, the Russian effort affected the outcome. Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense, and credulity to the breaking point. Less than 80,000 votes in three key states swung the election. I have no doubt, he goes on to say that more votes than that were influenced by this massive effort by the Russians."
So, somehow, he has been able to get into the head of those 80,000 voters, and he says even more than that really.
MACCALLUM: And he knows that that's why they voted the way they did.
HUME: But we -- the problem was saying, he know something like that is. That first of all, he didn't present -- he presents no evidence. He just calls it massive. He presents no evidence, he ought to know how utterly vast the undertakings are in a presidential campaign. How and you can't ever know for sure what is going on the minds of countless voters as they make up their minds how to vote.
You just -- it's just not a circumstance, now look, if there'd been some huge issue involving Russia that had been central to the campaign. And it -- and it had been argued throughout, and the Russians had -- you know pulled some kind of an intelligence stunt where they made it appear that the facts were one way, in fact, the facts well the other. You could kind of make that argument, not on this evidence that's it -- that's disturbingly silly.
MACCALLUM: Yes, and he's still -- it's interesting to me because, in the interviews that he's doing, he'll lay this out and say, well I know this now. And you know I'm just -- indefinite about it, I'm certain about it. But then, when asked how you know, he really doesn't have anything to substantiate it other than the number of, you know, Twitter accounts that were opened and the like.
You know, but then, when asked how he thinks. He says Putin was absolutely involved, when asked about that, he says how that's classified I can't get into that.
HUME: Well, yes, that's right. And I'll think about it this, Martha, he even says in the -- in the course of the things you've cited there that something about how a lot of the messages that were coming out of Trump campaign were the ones that the Russians were promoting, right?
HUME: So, how in the world would you ever be able to tell which of those messages is if they're mirrored by the Trump campaign and all of its multiple utterances are the ones that people believe and not the ones by the Russians or vice versa?
It's just an imponderable. I mean, you know, it's a -- it's an extravagant claim, one well beyond the knowledge of an intelligence officer and he -- and he basically cites no evidence for this. This is a man remember Martha who has had his trouble shaking hands with the truth in the past as has been noted.
MACCALLUM: As has been noted. Interestingly, on the view, going back and forth, you said, he said, I was talking about something else. But I didn't actually explain what the other thing he was talking about was.
HUME: Well, not only that Martha, the question that Ron Wyden asked him --
MACCALLUM: Yes, let's point clear.
HUME: -- about, about spying on Americans was very broad, a very general, it spoke of no particular program at all.
HUME: So, when he says he's speaking about another program, what other program? No program was being mentioned. He was asked a broad bay risk question, and his answer was absolutely false.
MACCALLUM: And he said yes, but not wittingly or unwittingly, so absolutely not was his answer.
HUME: Right. That was his answer.