Clapper: Obama's Response to Russian Election Interference Was 'Appropriate'

Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Danang International Airport in Danang Vietnam Saturday Nov. 11 2017 to travel to Hanoi Vietnam

CIA director stands by intel community assessment Russia meddled in election

Clapper offered his skepticism after President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this weekend, and Trump emerged saying he believed Putin's denial of Russian interference in the USA presidential election.

"First of all, he was referring to us as political hacks because he was trying to de-legitimise the intelligence community assessment that was done".

"I mean, give me a break-they're political hacks", Trump said. "But he says, 'I didn't do that.' I think he is very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth", Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Vietnam.

"I think it's very naive and in fact perilous to this country to make an assumption that Russian Federation is going to behave with the best interest of the world or certainly the United States".

"POTUS embraces Putin yet again telling world he believes former KGB agent's denial of attack on our election over our own Intel public servants, calling them 'political hacks.' Disturbing and shamelessly unpatriotic, on Veterans Day no less", she tweeted on Saturday following Trump's comments.

Trump on Saturday reignited the controversy, when reporters asked if he discussed Russian interference with Putin while meeting at the Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam. He noted that contrary to what Trump insinuated, the assessment was not compiled by Comey, Clapper nor Brennan.

"And I think his [Trump] continuing to not say very clearly and strongly that this is a national security problem and to say to Mr. Putin, we know you did it, you have to stop it, because there are going to be consequences if you don't", said Brennan.

The president, who now has new people heading all three agencies, said Sunday that he has worked "very strongly" with the new leadership in USA intelligence.

Responding to an attack by President Donald Trump, two former top intelligence officials blasted Trump for his meandering statements on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

"Considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor", Brennan said.

Mr. Trump raised eyebrows over the weekend by saying he believes Mr. Putin is "sincere" in his denials of interference, though he later clarified he believes the assessment of US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation meddled in last year's presidential election.

Brennan said Putin's apparent success with Trump was due to his use of flattery and Brennan's suspicion that Trump "for whatever reason" might be "intimidated" by Putin. So, it's very worrisome.

The intelligence community released an unclassified version of its assessment in January, saying Putin ordered the election meddling to hurt Hillary Clinton's candidacy and bolster Trump's successful bid.

"I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump's interest in being flattered".

Clapper acknowledged the detrimental effect of Trump's continued attacks on the USA intelligence community, but he said the intelligence community would forge ahead regardless. "I had no direct evidence of collusion", Clapper said Sunday.

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