US institutions "under assault': Ex National Intelligence head"

Odds of Donald Trump getting impeached slashed after he sacked James Comey

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn't hold back his criticism of President Donald Trump Sunday, saying us institutions are "under assault internally".

When he was asked, "Internally, from the president?"

'I think the founding fathers, in their genius, created a system of three co-equal brances of government and a built-in system of checks and balances, ' Clapper pointed out. "I feel as though that is under assault and is eroding".

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper testifies on Capitol Hill on May 8.

Clapper said he "would find that profoundly out of character for what" he knows of Comey "and his integrity" that the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief would make such a pledge. Lindsey Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Trump should stop talking or tweeting about the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the election.

The former US national intelligence director says the global "ransomware" attack could grow much larger when people return to work.

In an interview with ABC's This Week, Clapper said that Russian Federation likely sees the firing of FBI Director James Comey as "another victory on the scoreboard for them" because "the lead of the investigation about potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign has been removed". Clapper didn't hesitate: "Exactly".

Clapper also said Sunday 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 Russian Federation as proof that no such collusion exists, emphasizing that no one should portray his comments as "exculpatory" - something Trump has done repeatedly on Twitter.

"The way he was, the way that the whole thing was done", Clapper said in an interview with CBS News' Jeff Pegues.

He has since clarified that during his time in office he was also unaware of an FBI investigation into such collusion, adding on Sunday: "I don't know if there was collusion".

What Trump glommed onto is the fact that 'there was no reporting in that intelligence community assessment about political collusion, ' Clapper explained.

But he said it's a "professional courtesy" to accept an invitation from the president for dinner.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked Clapper how it could be that the FBI was investigating whether there was collusion, but, at the same time, signed off on an assessment that said there was no evidence of it. 'So I can't refute it and I can't confirm it'.

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