No evidence still, but Russia did it to undermine Clinton, help Trump: Clapper

Washinton: Former director of National Intelligence James Clapper has told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that he still has not seen “any evidence of any kind of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian foreign nationals.”

Clapper testified on Monday before a Senate judiciary subcommittee about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the Washington Post reports.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-N.C., asked if Clapper’s prior statement was correct, when he said that there was “no evidence’ of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

He replied in affirmative.

Clapper had earlier said, “We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, ‘our,’ that’s NSA, FBI and CIA, with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.”

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates declined to answer, when asked the same question.

Clapper was also asked why the original report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election did not include the so-called “Russian dossier” which cropped up weeks later in the Trump administration.

He said, “We couldn’t corroborate the sourcing.”

Clapper also said that Russia’s meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential elections amounted to a “high-water mark” in its decades-long efforts to interfere in political contests.

He hoped Americans recognised the severity of the threat posed by Russia and that the U.S. moved to counter Moscow before it “further erodes the fabric of our democracy,” he added.

Clapper also asserted that Russia was now “emboldened” to interfere in elections in the U.S. and around the world.

Clapper ended his statement with a reminder to the American public and the Senators of what this investigation was really about, CNN reports.

He quipped, “Russia did, without doubt and with little consequence, deploy resources and tactics to disrupt America’s presidential election — to undermine Hillary Clinton, and to help Trump’s campaign. Stated without drama or emotion, it was nonetheless sobering.”