James Clapper Denies Lying to Congress in Largely Soft Interview on 'The View'

On Tuesday, The View brought on James Clapper for an interview. Whoopi Goldberg described the Obama appointee in the most glowing terms: “The director of national intelligence, James clapper, oversaw 16 agencies including the CIA, NSA, and the FBI, so he's the perfect guy to help make some sense out of the White House war on the intelligence community.”

The “perfect guy”? To “make sense” of Trump’s “war”? Couldn't Trump suggest it was the intelligence community spying on his campaign to upend his campaign, or his presidency?

Clapper lamely tried to claim (like the press that helpfully accepts Obama leaks) that the FBI wasn't spying on Trump. "They were spying on, a term I don't particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence which is what they do."

He claimed what the FBI was “trying to do is protect our political system and protect the campaign.” He called it a "fairly benign tool available to the FBI given all the other capabilities available to them. And what has been described that he did was pretty mild."

Meghan McCain did press him briefly on lying to Congress in 2013:

MEGHAN McCAIN:  You know, the president tweeted about you, quote, “Clapper is a lying machine who now works for fake news. So, a lot of people I know -- first of all, what was your reaction to that when you first saw that?

JAMES CLAPPER:  Well, the president's calling me a lying machine. Well, okay. [Sunny Hostin laughed.]  What that stems from is an exchange I had with Senator Wyden five years ago in March of 2013 about surveillance program and he was asking me about one and I was thinking about another. So I made a mistake. I didn't lie. That's what occasioned --

McCAIN:  What you're referencing though is that when you said -- when you're talking about James [sic] Snowden blowing the whistle on the NSA illegally spying and in 2013 when you were asked about it you said no. So that is a lie and I think --

CLAPPER:  No, it isn't a lie. I'm sorry. It isn't a lie. I was thinking about something else, another program. I can get into the technical details. He was asking about the metadata program and the way he asked about it, I didn't break code. I was thinking of another program that we had just gotten renewed, section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Clapper blustered that he had never lied in "dozens of hearings, hundreds of questions" on the Hill. But Bre Payton at The Federalist went to the videotape with Wyden: He did not ask Clapper about a specific program. Wyden simply asked if the NSA was collecting any data at all on millions of Americans, and Clapper said no."

Sara Haines asked about the anti-Trump dossier -- never mentioning it was funded by Hillary Clinton's campaign -- calling it "an unsubstantiated document with salacious claims against Trump." She noted Clapper denied leaking it to the media.

Clapper then insisted the dossier was "not an intelligence document. There's nothing secret about it." Then he suggested that leaking this unverified sleaze about Trump hiring Russian hookers to urinate on a hotel bed was somehow like handing someone a newspaper...which is quite an insult to newspapers: 

SUNNY HOSTIN: So the dossier is not necessarily a leak?

CLAPPER: No. I mean --

JOY BEHAR: It's not classified.

HOSTIN: It's not classified.

CLAPPER: If I hand you a newspaper, am I leaking a newspaper to you?

HOSTIN: Not in my mind.

CLAPPER: Not in my mind either.

James Clapper Bre Payton
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