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James Clapper on Donald Trump, Russia, and the First Line of His Obituary

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"I've been a political appointee in both Democratic and Republican administrations," he said, his voice a phlegmy rumble. "Support the commander in chief. That was the first order of business. But this one, you know…" He reached for his coffee, leaned back, took a sip. "It's hard. This is a unique situation. We've never had a president like this before."


The Clappers live in a well-to-do suburb outside Washington, in a brick house with heavy shutters. Clapper's wife, Susan, a retired NSA administrator, answered the door. Her husband, she said, was at work in the basement. I followed her down a carpeted staircase past some paintings of bald eagles. We found James Clapper sitting at a small round table. He was dressed casually, in sandals, a polo shirt, and board shorts.

He seemed to be transitioning smoothly into the life of an ex-official, what D.C. types call a "former." He now socializes with some of the capital's more august senators, meeting them for lunch and bumping into them with the grandkids behind home plate at Nationals games. He had sworn off his trademark martinis, hit the gym, and lost 20 pounds. He would soon buy a Chevy Camaro. A friend told him that he was having a midlife crisis at age 76.

"Well, this is my man cave," he said, gesturing at a meticulously arranged trophy room with a rolltop desk and two couches. Two glass cases contained a glittering array of polished medals from his time in the Air Force, which he joined in 1963. The far wall had built-in shelves showing off a dim series of objects. Clapper dismissed my interest with a wave of his hand, calling it "various other junk from across the course of my career."

Clapper was one of the first hundred Air Force intelligence officers to go to Vietnam. "I hated the war," Clapper said. "What we were doing to the country—our own country—was bad." For a time, he worked alongside his father, who was the NSA's deputy country chief. Susan gave birth to a daughter while he was overseas. She was 7 months old the first time he saw her.

He stuck with the Air Force after his tours, was promoted "below the zone"—before almost all of his contemporaries—and went on to a career in military intelligence, eventually leading the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. In the years after the September 11 attacks, he clashed with Donald Rumsfeld over how to re-organize the country's spying apparatus, which today consumes roughly $70 billion a year. Rumsfeld won the argument and fired Clapper, but it wasn't long before he himself was out of a job. Clapper's willingness to stand his ground impressed Rumsfeld's replacement, Bob Gates, who recommended him to Obama as director of national intelligence in 2010.

Clapper forged close ties with Obama, whom he often briefed personally. He could be brutally frank; he had no qualms about bringing the president bad news. When the time came to make policy recommendations, Clapper would stick to intelligence and remain silent. Obama staffers would sometimes wonder if he was secretly a Republican.

The worst day of Clapper's career came on March 12, 2013, when he was called to testify before an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Ron Wyden, the senior senator from Oregon, asked Clapper whether the NSA collects "any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans."

"It does not?" asked Wyden. He looked surprised.

"Not wittingly," said Clapper. The corners of his mouth bent down into his Grumpy Cat face. "There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly."

Wyden believed, and still believes, that Clapper was being intentionally deceptive. Clapper told me that he made a mistake and misunderstood the question. Wyden holds a grudge to this day. "There's no other way to describe this than he lied to Congress. He lied to the American people," Wyden told me. "And that, in my judgment, is unacceptable."

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mikenova
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James Clapper on Donald Trump, Russia, and the First Line of His Obituary - GQ Magazine

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GQ Magazine

James Clapper on Donald Trump, Russia, and the First Line of His Obituary
GQ Magazine
As director of national intelligence, James Clapper was charged with protecting America's secrets. But now he's unwilling to keep silent—speaking out about Russia's role in our politics and about Donald Trump, whom he calls “downright scary and ...

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Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner face new scrutiny in Russia investigation - ABC News

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ABC News

Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner face new scrutiny in Russia investigation
ABC News
Next to the growing investigation into Russian meddling in the trump campaign. As the president's son-in-law faces new questions about wikileaks. David Wright is at the white house tonight with the latest. Reporter: Tonight, the president's son and son ...
British publicist who arranged Donald Trump Jr's meeting with Russian lawyer breaks silence on collusion claimsThe Independent
Rob Goldstone comes clean over Donald Trump and dirt on Hillary ClintonThe Times

all 17 news articles »
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mikenova
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Confirmed: Robert Mueller has far more Trump-Russia evidence than previously known

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Confirmed: Robert Mueller has far more Trump-Russia evidence than previously known

Confirmed: Robert Mueller has far more Trump-Russia evidence than previously known

Robert Mueller is WAY out ahead of the rest of us
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Confirmed: Robert Mueller knows about even more Trump-Russia meetings than the public does

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All along, it’s appeared that Special Counsel Robert Mueller knows far more about Donald Trump’s Russia scandal than Congress, the media, or the public knows. Although Mueller keeps his cards close to the vest, his actions periodically suggest that he’s several steps ahead of the game. Now comes confirmation that Mueller knows about a whole new set of Trump-Russia meetings that are not yet public.

Buried all the way down in the fifteenth paragraph of a new Washington Post article, you’ll find this key revelation: “Witnesses questioned by Mueller’s team warn that investigators are asking about other foreign contacts and meetings that have not yet become public, and to expect a series of new revelations.” (link). In other words, this week the media managed to expose Donald Trump Jr’s contacts with WikiLeaks and Jared Kushner’s contacts with a suspected Russian mobster, and yet those are still far from the last of the Trump-Russia contacts that Mueller already knows about.

So just what are we looking at here? The WaPo article hints that many of the secret meetings involved Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who is reportedly on the verge of being arrested on a variety of charges which may include conspiracy to commit kidnapping (Flynn denies the charges). So even as the media has been recently exposing Trump-Russia meetings involving members of Donald Trump’s family, Robert Mueller is focused on Trump-Russia meetings of an entirely different nature.

Another remarkable part of the WaPo article in question is the revelation that Donald Trump and his attorney Ty Cobb are both insisting Robert Mueller’s investigation will be completed soon, and that Trump will be exonerated. That’s nothing short of delusional. Mueller is just getting started, and has only arrested three of the dozens of Trump-Russia players he’s targeting. Moreover, Mueller’s entire gameplan is based around getting these targets to flip on Trump himself. Trump isn’t just a target of the investigation; he’s the target.

The post Confirmed: Robert Mueller knows about even more Trump-Russia meetings than the public does appeared first on Palmer Report.

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mikenova
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Insider: Donald Trump’s staff panicking as Robert Mueller chews through them “like Pac-Man”

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally managed to breach Donald Trump’s inner circle. It was revealed last week that he interviewed White House senior adviser Stephen Miller about his role in the Trump-Russia scandal. Now it turns out Mueller is aggressively working his way through Trump’s top people as we speak, and it’s clearly making them nervous. In fact one insider says they’re panicking as Mueller kicks into high gear.

A Trump White House insider claims that Mueller is chewing through Trump’s senior staff “like Pac-Man” and that they’re all panicked about how deep the investigation is running, summing it up by saying that “it’s going to be a long winter,” according to a new Washington Post report (link). That same article points to Hope Hicks and Don McGahn as being Mueller’s next two targets, which offers some hints about what Mueller is specifically pursuing.

Hope Hicks is essentially the gatekeeper for Donald Trump himself, filtering his emails and deciding what to loop him in on. This week it was revealed that Hicks was aware of Donald Trump Jr’s ongoing coordination with WikiLeaks, which means almost for certain that Donald Trump knew. Hicks will have to decide whether to admit to Mueller that Trump knew, or commit obstruction of justice by refusing to truthfully answer the question. White House counsel Don McGahn nixed a letter that Trump and Miller wrote justifying the firing of FBI Director James Comey. McGahn will have to decide whether to risk incriminating Trump, or risk incriminating himself. He does not share attorney-client privilege with Trump.

It’s important to keep in mind that Robert Mueller has consistently been several steps ahead of the media and the public when it comes to these matters. For instance it was widely reported by the media that Mueller’s first White House senior staff target would be Hope Hicks. Then it was later revealed that Mueller had already interviewed Stephen Miller instead. The “Pac-Man” reference strongly suggests that Mueller has already interviewed far more of Trump’s inner circle than is publicly known.

The post Insider: Donald Trump’s staff panicking as Robert Mueller chews through them “like Pac-Man” appeared first on Palmer Report.

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mikenova
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