Here’s the remarkable thing about recently retired Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: throughout all of his recent testimony in Trump-Russia hearings, it’s been difficult to figure out whether he might be a Democrat or a Republican. He doesn’t play either side; he merely provides intel and analysis. It helps explain why Presidents of both parties have relied on him heavily for decades. But now he’s had enough of Trump’s crap.
Trump’s abrupt firing this week of FBI Director James Comey, which he’s since admitted was an attempt at making the investigation into his Russia scandal go away, seems to have been the breaking point for James Clapper. He took to multiple Sunday morning talk shows today to call out what Trump is now doing. When he appeared on CNN State of the Union this morning, he asserted that “our institutions are under assault internally” and then clarified that by “internally” he meant by Donald Trump.
Clapper also appeared on ABC this morning and asserted that Russia is celebrating over what Donald Trump is now doing to the United States and its system of democracy. These kinds of words may sound muted in comparison to the kind of partisan rhetoric often heard on the Sunday morning talk show circuit. But then that’s what makes it stand out: Clapper is decidedly not a partisan. He’s simply no longer willing to keep quiet.
Despite having been retired for months and thus able to say anything he wants that isn’t classified or damaging to an ongoing investigation, James Clapper has largely kept himself out of the fray. He’s testified as requested, and he’s been thorough in assessing the things he’s been asked about during hearings. But as of now, as evidenced by his words on television this morning, Clapper has had enough of Trump’s crap. It’s enough to make you wonder how much more vocal he may now become.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report