The Obama administration’s director of national intelligence asserted on Monday that Russian president Vladimir Putin is handling President Trump as “an asset.”
“I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president,” James Clapper told CNN’s Jim Sciutto in an interview.
Clapper, a CNN contributor, was responding to news that Putin phoned Trump on Sunday to thank him and the CIA for providing intelligence that helped thwart a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg last week.
Sciutto appeared surprised by Clapper’s allegation.
“You’re saying that Russia is handling President Trump as an asset?” he asked.
“That seems to be — that’s the appearance to me,” said Clapper.
“I just want to be clear here, you say Russia is treating the President of the United States as an asset?” Sciutto followed up.
“I’m saying this figuratively. You have to remember Putin’s background. He’s a KGB officer. That’s what they do. They recruit assets. And I think some of that experience and instincts of Putin has come into play here in his managing of a pretty important account for him, if I could use that term, with our president,” said Clapper.