President Donald Trump went after James Clapper on Twitter after the former Director of National Intelligence questioned his fitness for office during a CNN interview, according to Business Insider.
Clapper appeared on CNN the same night Trump held a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, calling Trump’s speech “downright scary and disturbing.” He also cast doubt on Trump’s ability to serve as head of the executive branch.
“I really question his fitness to be in office,” Clapper said to CNN anchor Don Lemon. “And I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it. Maybe he is looking for a way out.”
“James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump,” Trump responded in a Tweet, alluding to when Clapper denied under oath that intelligence agencies were collecting data on millions of Americans during a congressional hearing in 2013. “Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?”
The letter Trump is referencing is a letter Clapper sent to Trump the day after his election, congratulating the new president on his victory and reaffirming the intelligence community’s dedication to serving the White House. Clapper said he drafted an almost identical one for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“The night before the election, we deployed two teams so that we could be ready to provide a [Presidential Daily Briefing] the next morning to whomever won,” explained Clapper. “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.”
Trump thanked him for the letter multiple times when Clapper and other important figures in the intelligence community visited the president in Trump Tower on Jan. 6, according to CNN. Less than a week later, Trump blasted the intelligence community after former FBI Director James Comey briefed him on a controversial dossier that alleged Russia had interfered with the election with Trump’s knowledge.