Russia collusion claims 'worse than Watergate'

Thursday, 08 Jun, 2017

CNN reported the former FBI director plans to debunk the presidents claim that Comey told him he was not under investigation, but otherwise aims to be a source of facts, rather than judgment.

In an extraordinary speech at Australia's National Press Club, Clapper, who served under the Obama administration, was slated to speak about the Australia-U.S. alliance.

Mr Clapper's comparison with Watergate will raise eyebrows - President Richard Nixon resigned amid an unprecedented American political scandal involving spying, burglary and a cover-up.

NPR notes that "Trump reportedly asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the head of the National Security Agency, Adm. Mike Rogers, to state publicly that there was no collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign".

The comments from Clapper, a widely respected intelligence veteran, only adds to the torrent of criticism facing Trump over the Russian Federation investigation.

Clapper also declined to warn America's allies against withholding intelligence in the wake of a series of leaks from the administration, including from Trump himself, saying they had to make decisions that were in their best interests - although he argued the institutional and personal links between Australia and the USA remained strong.

"Ever transactional, he simply asked me to publicly refute the infamous dossier, which of course I couldn't and wouldn't do", Clapper said.

Mr Trump's sharing of sensitive intelligence with the Russians and compromising its source reflected either ignorance or disrespect.

The mere fact that one of the most trusted national security leaders over the past several decades feels as though the Trump-Russia potential collusion is much bigger than Watergate, should give us a good indication of how the Trump administration may come to an end.

"I lived through Watergate", he said.

A constant critic of President Donald Trump, Clapper has chosen his words carefully when under oath during investigations into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"Is there a smoking gun with all the smoke?" It was in Russia's "genes to be opposed, diametrically opposed, to the United States and western democracies". "What I think will be very significant to see, both what he says, and what he is asked about and doesn't respond to".

He said Australia should deal with China "with both caution and confidence" while never forgetting the importance of its own democratic institutions. Clapper said that, at the institutional level, agencies would be concerned if intelligence sharing was discontinued.