James Clapper comments on President Trump's decision to revoke the clearance of former CIA director John Brennan on Wednesday. Clapper said Trump's action today made him question whether the president would eventually restrict security clearances to those who voted for him.
Clapper revealed he had access to the intelligence community assessment that was a catalyst for the Mueller investigation.
"Perhaps that is being held against me, I don't know," Clapper said.
"That is a common denominator, that we had some connection with -- in my case, the intelligence community assessment that kind of was a catalyst for all the subsequent events that have taken place to include the Mueller investigation," Clapper said of the probe. "Perhaps that is being held against me, I don't know I suspect it has more to do with my criticism of the president."
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: And take such action on an individual because he doesn't like what he says. And that's really what this is all about. I just think, again, it's not about retired formers like myself, [Ret. Gen.] Mike Hayden, myself, or John [Brennan]. It's what else could be done here? Mueller or -- ask that members of the intelligence community declare who they voted for and if you didn't vote for me you don't get to keep your security clearance. I mean where does this stop?
I'm perhaps exaggerating a little bit here but this is bigger than just -- much bigger than just John Brennan's eligibility, or possibly mine or the others.
CUOMO: Well, when you look at the list, what I'm calling the unwanted list of 10 people, it's all about somebody who has some connection to the probe that the president clearly hates. Even though his current intel people are saying it's an important probe, it needs to go forward, we need facts and we need to understand what the Russians did and who helped them.
Putting that to the side, do you believe that that would be the extent of it? He only cares about the probe. Or is that enough exposure to concern?
CLAPPER: Well, that is a common denominator, that we had some connection with -- in my case, the intelligence community assessment that kind of was a catalyst for all the subsequent events that have taken place to include the Mueller investigation. So, if perhaps that's being held against me, I don't know. I suspect it has more to do with my criticism of the president.
I've also looked for opportunities to agree when I agreed with actions that the administration took.
CUOMO: The criticism is you guys aren't supposed to talk. Not that you don't have the right to talk but that it's not right for you to talk. You know too much, you're supposed to be the keepers of the secrets, and you don't politicize your opinions because what you know is too valuable, you should stay on the sidelines. Brennan has flagrantly ignored that directive.
CLAPPER: You know, Chris, I retired from the military 23 years ago, from the Air Force. And when I left then, left the government, it never crossed my mind to speak up or say anything critical of whoever the president was then. But I spent a good part of my life, 50-plus years, 34 of it in the military, defending this country and its values and standards and institutions, which I feel, as do the others involved here, are under serious assault. And this is going to get worse before it gets better, I predict.
And I felt a duty, an obligation to speak up because of that long history of defending these things that I think are extremely important for this country. And sure, at my advanced age, I'd just as soon dance offstage, but I feel a duty and an obligation to speak up. I think John and Mike and others feel the same way.
CUOMO: You can do your dancing on your own time. You've got a lot of gas left in the tank and we need you on this show on a regular basis.