Clapper Claims He Doesn’t ‘Recall What Prompted’ Him To Unmask Flynn & He ‘Did Not’ Find Evidence Of Trump/Russia Collusion

[Image source: CNN video screenshots. Swamp Drain compilation].

Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, spoke with anchor John Berman on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday, after Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa released documents that listed declassified names of Obama-era officials who sought to “unmask” retired Lt. General Michael Flynn at the end of the Obama administration.

The list features officials including then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-FBI Director James Comey, and intelligence chiefs John Brennan and James Clapper, along with others.

During his interview, James Clapper was asked why he had made three specific requests to unmask the name of an individual on December 2, December 28, and January 7.

“No, I don’t. I don’t recall what prompted a request that was made on my behalf for unmasking,” Clapper claimed. “I don’t remember the specifics, or what it was in the second report that was suggestive enough that I was concerned and felt that I should know who was actually involved.”

Asked if he saw any “direct evidence” of collusion between General Flynn or any Trump campaign officials with the Russians when he was the Director of National Intelligence, Clapper replied, “No, I did not. Collusion is not a formally defined term, certainly in a legal sense.”

Pressed on whether the “absence of evidence of collusion” indicated that no requests for unmasking should have happened, Clapper said, “There could have been other reasons why you would unmask. When you read the report, it may not tell you what exactly is going on, so whether it was collusion or what, you’re trying to determine [is] does this pose a threat to national security?” Continued Below

Berman pointed out that leaking a classified phone call is illegal and asked Clapper specifically whether he leaked Flynn’s call to David Ignatius of The Washington Post.

“If you exhaust classified information, absolutely,” Clapper said of leaking being illegal and told the CNN anchor that he “did not” leak.

Clapper was also asked whether he’ll accept Sen. Lindsey Graham’s call to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The former Director of National Intelligence said he would “be happy to come after I’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19,” but noted he could do it remotely. Video Below

Meanwhile, on Thursday, former CIA Director John Brennan vented his anger toward President on Twitter, claiming: “@realDonaldTrump’s propaganda & disinformation machine, which operates according to a despot’s playbook, is the most aggressive & odious in history. It far surpasses even Russia’s ability to trample the truth, harm U.S. security, & undermine America’s reputation worldwide.”

James Clapper’s official remarks:

Continued Below

(Related: James Clapper: ‘It’s Disconcerting To Be Investigated For Having Done Our Duty & What We Were Told To Do By The President’)