Former director of national intelligence James Clapper reiterated on Sunday that he saw no “smoking gun” evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. But he did say that his “dashboard was lit up” with concerns about Trump advisers’ interactions with Russians before he left office on Jan. 20.
“I have to say, at the time I left, I did not see any smoking gun certitude evidence of collusion. But it certainly was appropriate given all the signs…for the FBI to investigate,” Clapper said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Clapper was specifically asked about new reports that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner asked Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December about the possibilities of setting up a secret communications channel with the Kremlin.
Clapper did not speak directly to the reports about Kushner. But he referred to former CIA Director John Brennan’s testimony earlier this week that he was “worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons.”
Brennan also told the House Intelligence Committee that he saw no direct evidence of collusion, but he was concerned enough to refer the matter to the FBI.
Clapper said he shared those same concerns with Brennan.
“I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on, and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned with the nature of these approaches to the Russians,” he said.
“If you put that in context with everything else we knew the Russians were doing to interfere with the election, and just the historical practices of the Russians, who typically are almost genetically driven to coopt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique, so we were concerned.”