Clapper: Mike Pompeo Is Like A Moth Who Flies Too Close To A Flame | Video | RealClearPolitics

Clapper: Mike Pompeo Is Like A Moth Who Flies Too Close To A Flame


Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reacts to news that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the line during the infamous phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now is CNN national security analyst James Clapper. He is the former Director of National Intelligence. Director, thank you very much for being with us. I want to start with Mike Pompeo and, let's call it an evolution, from dodging Martha Raddatz's very direct question of what do you know about this phone call 10 days ago to this morning, I was on that phone call?

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, our friends and Watergate journalists, famously say follow the lies and it will bring you to the answer. What do you make of that evolution from Mike Pompeo?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: John, to be honest, I kind of feel bad for Secretary Pompeo who is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point which instills in graduates and the cadets, and then when they graduate, duty on our country. And it's just a reminder, I think, of people that are in the Trump orb is not unlike the moth that flies too close to the hot candle. And this is -- of course, the two answers are going to be on highlight films now for some time to come.

I would note that the question at the press conference that he had in Italy, he didn't address at all whether he thought that what went on and what transpired during that phone call was appropriate or not.

BERMAN: No, he dodged that question even today as he admitted the truth that he could have admitted to Martha Raddatz when she asked the very direct question 10 days ago. What do you think he might have been trying to hide? Why not say I heard the conversation?

CLAPPER: I don't know. I'm not a mind-reader, but I think there was a, perhaps, certain amount of guilt pangs, I think, that I'm sure he understood what was going on, where the president was trying to muscle another head of state to do his bidding to advance his political fortunes and by holding hostage the military assistance that the Congress had long ago voted on and appropriated. So I think he knew all that.

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