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Ex-CIA Director Just Dropped a Major Smackdown On Donald Trump

Appearing on CNN Sunday morning, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a stern warning Sunday about the state of the US government after President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last week, saying he thinks US institutions are “under assault.”

“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— and I think as well our institutions are under assault internally,” Clapper said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Asked by anchor Jake Tapper if he meant US institutions were under assault internally from the President, Clapper responded, “Exactly.”

Clapper called on the other branches of the federal government to step up in their roles as a check on the executive.

“The founding fathers, in their genius, created a system of three co-equal branches of government and a built-in system of checks and balances,” Clapper said. “I feel as though that is under assault and is eroding.”

Democrats and several Republicans in Congress have publicly called for the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor or establishing an independent investigative body that could look into allegations of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in what the US intelligence community says was Moscow’s efforts to influence the US election.

Clapper also said that the President and the White House are wrong to cite Clapper’s previous Senate testimony on the questions about alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as proof that no such collusion exists, emphasizing that no one should portray his comments as “exculpatory”, something Trump has done repeatedly on Twitter.

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“The bottom line is I don’t know if there was collusion, political collusion,” Clapper told Tapper. “I don’t know of any evidence to it. So I can’t refute it, and I can’t confirm it.”

The ex-CIA chief also said that he spoke with Comey prior to the dinner while at an event at FBI headquarters in Washington.

“He mentioned to me the invitation he had from the President for dinner,” Clapper said. “He was —my characterization— uneasy with it both from the standpoint of the optic of compromising his independence and the independence of the FBI,” Clapper told Jake Tapper.

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