Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper doesn’t miss a chance to take a shot at President Donald Trump, whether it’s on CNN, in a tweet, in an op-ed, or in his new book. But while much of what he has to say about the president comes down to mere opinion, he is now making a claim that even critics of this administration must admit he cannot back up. By asserting that the Russian meddling of 2016 threw the election to Donald Trump, Clapper is out on a limb, even among Democrats who would love to prove that’s what happened. Hillary Clinton might come to Clapper’s defense on this one…but if that’s your only backup, you’ve really stepped in a mess.
In his book, Clapper says what no American intelligence or law enforcement agency has been willing to say, which is that the Russians not only hacked the DNC and launched a social media effort to hurt Hillary Clinton in 2016, but that their efforts actually changed the course of history.
“It just exceeds logic and credulity,” he told PBS, “that they didn’t affect the election.”
No, it really doesn’t.
Well, okay, we’ll give him this much: It is possible – likely, even – that someone, somewhere in America decided not to vote for Hillary Clinton after reading what was in the DNC’s emails. But for Clapper to take that common sense notion and spread it to this conclusion – that Trump actually won because of the Russian interference – is a bridge WAY too far. You could just as easily conclude that the mere appearance of Russian interference, which was known and talked about in the weeks leading up to November, cost Trump many more votes than he would have gotten otherwise.
If Clapper were merely saying that Russian meddling “had an effect,” we wouldn’t have so much of a problem. Everything “has an effect.” But Clapper is insinuating that without Russia’s help, Trump would not be president today. If Joe Blow liberal pundit down at Vox wants to make that claim, so be it. But for the former Director of National Intelligence to say something like that without any shred of evidence…that is really reckless and irresponsible. It undermines our democracy and, if anything, actually does the bidding of Vladimir Putin – who, as all intelligence agencies agree, wanted most of all to sew confusion and doubt about American voting integrity.
Clapper should be ashamed of these unfounded claims; alas, the #Resistance clouds men’s minds and makes them do strange and terrible things. Kids, don’t be like that. Don’t be like James Clapper.