After former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called President Donald Trump’s speech during a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, “downright scary and disturbing,” Trump responded accordingly, criticizing Clapper on Twitter and referencing a “beautiful letter” that Clapper apparently wrote the President.
James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2017
But Clapper says that letter was nothing special. He wrote an “almost identical” letter to then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
On the night before the 2016 presidential election last November, Clapper deployed two teams to meet up with each candidate in order to deliver the Presidential Daily Briefing to whomever won, he told CNN Thursday.
“I hand-wrote almost identical short notes to each of the two candidates to accompany the first brief as President-elect; only one actually got deployed — the one to him,” he said.
The undelivered letter to Clinton congratulated her on her victory and encouraged her that the intelligence community would be there to serve her. The letter to Trump said the same thing, with a few additional comments.
“I went on to say that I hoped he would abide by the long-standing principle of the IC (intelligence community) always telling ‘truth to power,’” he said, paraphrasing the note to CNN.
Clapper said Trump thanked him for the note three times.
As a longtime critique of Trump and his impulsive tendencies, Clapper said after the rally speech that he is concerned about the President’s access to nuclear codes.
“In a fit of pique, if he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un, there’s actually very little to stop him,” Clapper said on CNN.