As the world waits for sacked FBI director James Comey to give evidence on Russia’s alleged intervention in the last US election, a former US spy chief and close colleague anticipates the significant but possibly “tempered” evidence.
“There is great anticipation about his hearing and about what he might say,” James Clapper, a former US director of national intelligence, told the ABC.
“It could be very significant.”
Mr Comey is expected to be questioned about his communication with President Trump by the Senate Intelligence Committee led by Mr Comey’s well-regarded FBI predecessor, Robert Mueller.
As Washington watches the hearing play out, they might not be getting the whole picture, explained Mr Clapper, as Mr Comey would have been given clear instructions on what he was able to divulge.
Mr Comey might be “somewhat tempered by whatever guidelines that have been worked out between him and [Mueller]” Mr Clapper said.
‘It is no assumption’ that Russia interfered
Bob Mueller is currently assembling a team to investigate possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s election campaign. (Reuters)
The man who watched over US national intelligence as president Obama’s eyes and ears for over six years said he was certain that Russia had interfered on a “multi-dimensional” basis in the 2016 election.
He should know. He saw it.
“It is no assumption, the evidence that we had that we could not divulge was incontrovertible,” he said.
He would not be drawn on whether he had seen evidence of the Trump administration’s collusion with Russia, but agreed that was a missing piece of the puzzle.
“Again — I’m away from official access, four-plus months since I left office, I don’t know if it’s missing or not. It’s missing from a public perspective.”
Russia a greater ‘existential’ threat than ISIS
Yesterday Mr Clapper addressed the National Press Club in Canberra and said the Watergate scandal that blew up the Nixon administration “pales” in comparison to circumstances in Washington now.
He emphasised that Russian President Putin had a grudge with both Bill and Hillary Clinton leading to a natural favourability with businessman Trump.
Mr Clapper was deeply disturbed over the modernisation of Russia’s strategic military forces.
“I think that Russia poses a far more profound threat than ISIS. Russia, for the United states, is a an existential threat.”
James Comey will give evidence in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee into Russian interference into the 2016 election on Thursday night, AEST.