Former National Security Agency head James Clapper predicted Friday that President Donald Trump is ‘prepping the battlefield’ for action to counter the legal probes that have bedeviled his term after the November elections.
Trump on Thursday indicated Attorney General Jeff Sessions was safe for 10 weeks, called special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe ‘illegal,’ and accused NBC of ‘fudging’ video where he said Russia was on his mind when he fired FBI Director James Comey.
All three tactics could point to Trump laying the groundwork for a series of moves after the elections, which he could execute even if Democrats capture the House, which they are slightly favored to do.
Former National Security Agency head James Clapper predicted Friday that President Donald Trump is ‘prepping the battlefield’ for some kind of action to combat his legal situation after November
‘I just think the volume and the, to me, the irrationality of some of the things he is saying in his tweets, at least tell me that, you know, the walls are kind of crashing in on him,’ Clapper told CNN Friday.
Clapper, who is among the former intelligence officials Trump has threatened to remove security clearances from, pointed to the lame duck period between the elections and when a new Congress gets sworn in.
‘And I think that more and more, he is legally thinking that he feels like he is in jeopardy. I think what he is trying to do using a military expression is prepping the battlefield for taking some action later and undermining the credibility of the investigation,’ Clapper said.
Trump indicated Thursday Attorney General Jeff Sessions could remain through November
The president called special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe ‘illegal’
‘I think a lot will do with midterm elections, it appears he extended attorney general sessions lame duck status. I think that is when, you know, there will be from the progression in this crisis that it will occur,’ he said.
But Clapper rejected the idea that the special counsel would take some action Friday, amid speculation that something could come down in advance of the long Labor Day weekend.
Trump has also upped his rhetoric against the Mueller probe, which he has already branded a ‘hoax’ and a ‘witch hunt.’
Trump continues to vent about his attorney general and the Russia ‘witch hunt’
‘I view it as an illegal investigation,’ he said. The president cited ‘great scholars’ who whom he said argue that ‘there never should have been a special counsel.’
On Thursday Trump attacked the authenticity of an NBC interview he gave to Lester Holt, where he said the Russia probe was on his mind when he decided to fire former FBI Director James Comey. The apparent admission could feature in a potential obstruction of justice probe.
‘When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!’ Trump tweeted.
Trump, who has been venting about Sessions for months and has fumed about his AG’s recusal from the Russia probe, indicated Thursday Sessions is safe at least through the November elections.
A CNN political analyst concluded this means Sessions could get fired ‘on or about November 7.’
‘I just would love to have him do a great job,’ Trump told Bloomberg in an interview Thursday, offering something less than praise for Sessions’ performance.
Trump fumed at an Indiana rally Thursday night: ‘Our Justice Department and our FBI, at the top of each, because inside they have incredible people, but our Justice Department and our FBI have to start doing their job and doing it right and doing it now, because people are angry. People are angry,’ Trump said.