Donald Trump is reportedly so sensitive about the possibility that Russian election interference helped him to win the 2016 presidential election, that aides are instructed never to mention Russia’s election activities in his presence, CNN reports. Trump reportedly flies into a rage at the mere thought that his election victory could be perceived as illegitimate.
But James Clapper, who served as Director of National Intelligence from 2010 to 2017, now says that the evidence showing Russia was, in fact, responsible for Trump’s 2016 election win is “staggering,” according to a Newsweek summary of the 78-year-old’s newly published book.
“Of course, the Russian efforts affected the outcome,” Clapper wrote in his book, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence, which was published this week. “Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense and credulity to the breaking point.”
Clapper notes that while Trump lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton, he won an Electoral College victory thanks to fewer than 80,000 votes in three states, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — as Axios documented.
But, as Clapper writes in the book, he is certain the “massive” effort by the Russians to get Trump elected influenced “more votes than that.”
In January of 2017, the office of the Director of National Intelligence released a full report detailing the conclusions of the full intelligence community with regards to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, with the aim of putting Trump in office. But when it actually happened, Clapper says in his book, the Russians surprised “even themselves.”
But Trump has never accepted the intelligence community’s conclusions, and at one point, reportedly told top intelligence officials that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin — who continues to deny that Russia tampered with the election — over his own intelligence agencies, as The Inquisitr reported.
Trump’s assertion of belief in Putin’s claims over evidence assembled by United States intelligence officers appears even more shocking in light of the intelligence community’s finding that Putin himself ordered the election operation, as detailed by Clapper in his book, per The Washington Post.
“We showed unambiguously that Putin had ordered the campaign to influence the election, that the campaign was multifaceted, and that Russia had used cyber espionage against US political organizations,” Clapper wrote.
Not only has Trump refused to accept the finding that Putin ordered the election interference operation — which, Clapper says, got him elected — Trump now appears to be attempting to undermine the U.S. intelligence program that collected the evidence against Putin and Russia. As The Inqusitr reported, Trump has authorized Attorney General William Barr to declassify information from the investigation — which could potentially include the name of a source close to Putin, who provided the evidence against the Russian president to U.S. intelligence agents.