Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper must really like the spotlight, or perhaps it’s just that he misses it so much.
Yesterday Clapper went on cable TV and ripped into the president for firing FBI Director James Comey:
“I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system,” Clapper said. “I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.”
When he was asked, “Internally, from the president?” Clapper said, “Exactly.”
Democrats and some outspoken Republicans remain in an uproar over Comey’s firing last week, even though most lawmakers from both sides of the aisle had previously sliced and diced former FBI Director into bite-sized pieces for his handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.
You’d have to be living in a cave not to have heard the uproar from the establishment media outlets over Comey’s firing — insisting the timing of his dismissal had everything to do with an FBI investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Of course, no evidence of this theory has been established to date and Comey thrice told the president that he was not under investigation.
Still, all things Comey got ugly in The Swamp as the week progressed.
As a shot across the bow to the Former FBI Director, President Trump tweeted Friday, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” This naturally ratcheted up the political food fight:
Calling Trump’s remarks about possible taped conversations “outrageous,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said his panel or another committee would “absolutely” subpoena the tapes.
“We have got to make sure that these tapes, if they exist, don’t mysteriously disappear,” Warner said, adding that he hopes to have Comey testify in a public hearing before his committee. (AP)
Meanwhile, representatives of the White House were almost non-existent on the Sunday political shows, leaving the job of defending President Trump to U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley who said, “”The president is the CEO of the country. He can hire and fire whoever he wants.”
This, of course, is quite true. While the Director of the FBI serves a ten-year term, he serves at the pleasure of the president. Over a dozen people are said to be on the short list for America’s top cop and once Trump makes his choice, the wrangling over the nomination is likely to be a drawn-out merciless battle of vitriol.
Still, President Trump said a new FBI director is likely to be fast-tracked, “They’ve been vetted over their lifetime essentially, but very well-known, highly respected, really talented people. And that’s what we want for the FBI.” (Fox) Respect is something that James Comey had certainly lost during his tenure as director.
As far as Clapper is concerned, he’s an odd one to be calling out the president’s actions. He’s famously known for deceiving a 2013 Senate panel when he said U.S. intelligence agencies were not collecting data on the American people when in fact the Edward Snowden affair proved Clapper’s statements to be patently false. Clapper tendered his resignation just eight days after Trump was elected in November and has made it plain he is not a fan of 45. So perhaps this is an opportunity for the former DNI to pile on with negative and incendiary comments about the Trump administration.
Or perhaps it’s time for Clapper to shut his trap and go quietly into the night.