OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN contributor, voiced concerns during an interview Thursday about what former President Donald Trump might do to him and others should he win another term next year.
In a setup, host Abby Phillip asked Clapper if he thought that Trump had accumulated an “enemies list” that he would utilize to target him and other former high-ranking officials who Trump believes unfairly targeted him before and during his presidency.
Phillips said: “Tonight, the former president of the United States, who is currently a candidate for office again, is suggesting that the ongoing, outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be e**cuted. Donald Trump referred to reports that General Mark Milley was going to war in China if Trump decided to launch an attack, posting on social media that this is an act so egregious that in times gone by, the punishment would have been d**th. Let’s discuss this with CNN National Security Analyst James Clapper. He’s the former Director of National Intelligence. Director Clapper, Trump saying that he will, would e**cute, or that we should e**cute the nation’s top general. Have we become numb to all of this?”
“Well, yeah, I mean, since we have, you know, this is shocking, stunning, despicable, egregious, et cetera, but not surprising. It’s really reprehensible for that to have been said. Joe Milley served this country with a long and with great distinction, 43 years. Like all of us, he took the oath, and it bears repeating,” Clapper began.
He then switched gears and sounded a patriotic tone.
“I solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. Not to the President, not to a king, dictator, not to any individual, but to the Constitution,” Clapper said.
For his part, Clapper has a history of making false claims and statements. In 2013, during the Obama administration, even Democrats called him out for claiming, falsely, in March 2013 that the National Security Agency was not collecting “any type of data at all” on American citizens. Several lawmakers wanted him prosecuted for perjuring himself before Congress.
US News reported in 2016 as Clapper was preparing to leave office ahead of Trump’s inauguration:
About three months after making that claim, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the answer was untruthful and that the NSA was in fact collecting in bulk domestic call records, along with various internet communications.
“Regardless of what was going through the director’s head when he testified, failing to correct the record was a deliberate decision to lie to the American people about what their government was doing,” Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said after Clapper later claimed he simply made a mistake and did not actually lie.
“No one is above the law. Officials who commit perjury or lie to Congress should be held accountable,” Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold added.
Clapper also alleged during a 2018 interview at his new gig on CNN that there was a ‘parallel’ between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.
“The parallelism between what the Trump campaign was doing and saying and what the Russians were doing and saying was remarkably parallel, particularly when it came to attacks on Hillary Clinton, all her alleged physical and mental maladies, and there was almost an echo chamber between the two,” Clapper told CNN’s Dana Bash.
Special counsel John Durham concluded in an investigation that wrapped up last year that the “Russian collusion” claim was false and was fabricated, in large part, by Clinton’s failed 2016 campaign.