Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper (shown above left) expects that the special counsel investigation will not reach a definitive conclusion and that it will be anti-climactic.
President Donald Trump has been at the center of a federal investigation, which has been looking into potential election meddling by the president and his associates.
Clapper said he is hopeful — but far from sure — that the special counsel team will clear up those questions.
“I think the hope is that the Mueller investigation will clear the air on this issue once and for all,” Clapper told CNN.
“I’m really not sure it will, and the investigation, when completed, could turn out to be quite anti-climactic and not draw a conclusion about that.”
Robert Mueller (above right) has been leading the special counsel investigation since it was launched in May 2017.
His team is looking into possible crimes committed by the president or his associates, with a particular focus on whether they colluded with Russian interests during the presidential election of 2016.
Clapper also said he expects the special counsel team to provide some answers once it releases the report. But he also doubts that will include a conclusion on whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia or not. He also speculated that if the president was indeed advancing Russia’s interests, he would more likely be doing so unwittingly.
“The strange thing, I think, that has bothered a lot of people both in and out of the intelligence community is this strange personal deference to Putin by the president. I’ve speculated in the past that the way Putin behaves is to treat President Trump as an asset,” Clapper also said.
The special counsel team has faced scrutiny over how it’s handled its investigation. Trump has called the ongoing inquiry the single greatest “witch hunt” in the country’s history.
House Republicans who were investigating the probe last year accused agents who were part of the team of bias against the president as well.
Trump has been highly critical of numerous former and current intelligence officials he feels were working against him — including Clapper. He has also gone after John Brennan, who formerly served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and even questioned whether his own outgoing deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, is conflicted.
Trump has repeatedly said he doesn’t plan to end the special counsel probe despite his issues with it. Lawmakers have sought to ensure the investigation is able to finish regardless. The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act was reintroduced earlier this year to protect the special counsel investigation from the president.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced the bill along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked the previous attempt last year after the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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