Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Monday accused President Donald Trump of leading “a very disturbing assault on the independence of the Department of Justice.”
“When the President – this president or any president – tries to use the Department of Justice as kind of a private investigatory body, that’s not good for the country,” Clapper told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.”
Clapper was reacting to the President’s demand over the weekend that the Justice Department “look into” whether the FBI or Justice Department planted a spy in his presidential campaign following reports that the bureau dispatched a confidential source to speak with some campaign aides about possible ties to Russia.
Clapper defended the FBI’s use of confidential informants, calling it “a legitimate activity, an important one, on the part of the FBI. They use informants and have strict rules and protocols on this.”
Clapper warned that increased politicization in the oversight of the intelligence agencies “places a heavier burden on our intelligence community leaders to provide the top cover, so that rank-and-file workers, employees in the intelligence community, can continue to serve up truth to power, even if the power doesn’t listen to the truth.”
He called for bipartisan congressional oversight when it comes to intelligence, praising the Senate Intelligence Committee for its report validating the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
“And they did so, importantly, on a bipartisan basis,” Clapper added, noting, “They are not credible within the intelligence committee unless they are bipartisan.”