Director of National Intelligence nominee James Clapper testifies during the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on his nomination on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
For years now, there’s been a primary suspicion that CNN and Jake Tapper (who led the reporting on it) were tipped off about the Steele Dossier and a briefing to Donald Trump on it by James Clapper, who was still technically part of the Obama Administration at the time.
This all went down in January of 2017, when Tapper suddenly started reporting on details of the dossier and how the newly elected President had been told about it. The CNN newsman would later express his anger that Buzzfeed published the dossier, which showed it to be a farce in short order. Though he claims his objections were based on the unverified nature of the dossier, that doesn’t make sense. Why would CNN not want to the entire dossier published but at the same time be leaking parts of it if they felt it wasn’t proper to publish? The more obvious explanation is that CNN and Tapper really wanted to keep leaking damaging details of the dossier without its ridiculous nature being exposed. It was only after Buzzfeed printed it that it was able to be essentially debunked.
The question of who gave Tapper that information to begin with arose in a recent Epoch Times article, which was tweeted about on Twitter. This led Tapper to jump in with all his partisan glory and call them liars “carrying water” for those in power.
No he hadn’t. That’s a lie. I never spoke to him or communicated with him in any way until I interviewed him on air in May 2017. I get that your publication carries water for people in power, but try sticking to facts and doing basic research.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 2, 2019
The Epoch Times responded by pointing out that their source was a House Intel Committee report, not just some anonymous claims or supposition.
Dear Mr. Tapper, thank you for reaching out. We cite the House Intelligence Committee's Report on Russian Active Measures, which cites then-DNI James Clapper as saying he talked with you about the Steele dossier.
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) September 3, 2019
Tapper then responds back by claiming the House Intel report is wrong, citing an article from The Washington Post.
Dear Mr. Tapper, the May 3, 2018, article you cite states "we urge the House Intelligence Committee to update and correct its report."
Until the Committee decides to update their report, we will continue to use the official reports. We will include your statement in our article.
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) September 3, 2019
You can go read the entire article Tapper links. It doesn’t actually debunk anything. The author does his level best to muddy the waters, but in noway does he definitively show the House Intel report to be “inaccurate” as Tapper claims. That article’s claim also contradicts the direct testimony of James Clapper.
The literal transcript. It isn't the House Report which is the issue. pic.twitter.com/UyXNZWcJZp
— Matt Hay (@MattAHay) September 3, 2019
In fact, to provide even more context, Clapper had originally told Congress he didn’t discuss the dossier with any journalist at all. He’d later change his story when confronted with the discussion with Tapper, which was mirrored in the classified ICA. There would have been no reason to change his story if the only interaction was a public interview after Clapper had long left his government post.
The former DNI later changed his story after he was confronted specifically about his communications with Jake Tapper of CNN.
“Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the ‘dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,’ and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic,” the report continued. “Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in early January 2017, around the time IC leaders briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump, on ‘the Christopher Steele information,’ a two-page summary of which was ‘enclosed in’ the highly-classified version of the ICA,” or intelligence community assessment.
Clapper is also on record telling then President-Elect Trump during the infamous briefing on the Steele matter that CNN had the dossier and was looking for a news hook. 24 hours later, Tapper was handed his hook via a leak.
There are two explanations here. Either James Clapper lied to Congress or Jake Tapper is lying. Clapper mentions that he discussed it with Tapper after it “was out in the media.” The dossier was leaked to the media back in late 2016 and Clapper admits that CNN had the dossier in their possession prior to the briefing with Trump. Tapper wouldn’t speak to Clapper officially until an interview in May of 2017. It’s improbable that Clapper was citing that interview over half a year later in his testimony, and if he was, he would have said that.
Secondly, Tapper was reporting on details about the dossier and the briefing to Trump in Jan. of 2017 under the guise of anonymous sources from within the government. CNN, whether Tapper wants to admit it or not, did receive leaks from government officials well before May 2017 and were told of the briefing. Further, it just so happened that after those leaks took place, James Clapper was hired on as a paid analyst by CNN. We are supposed to believe this was all just a coincidence?
Tapper is sniping at The Epoch Times and throwing around personal insults with his typical haughty nature, but it’s his story that makes the least sense in all this. If Clapper wasn’t his source, then who was it? Who was feeding Tapper stories about the dossier in Jan. of 2017 and who told them about the briefing to Trump?
He can clear all that up immediately if he’d like. What he doesn’t get to do is hand wave away a House Intel report and Congressional testimony while demanding we trust his word. CNN simply doesn’t hold that kind of credibility. Not even close.
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