Amid reports that the Justice Department is preparing to receive Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on his nearly two-year-long investigation into alleged "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia as early as next week, CNN is preparing its viewers to be deeply disappointed.
Asked by "New Day" host Alisyn Camerota Wednesday if he believed the Mueller investigation would find "enough" to take down Trump, former National Intelligence Director and rabid anti-Trump CNN analyst James Clapper attempted to temper the audience's expectations.
"That's the big question," Clapper said, in comments noted by The Hill (video below). "I think the hope is that the Mueller investigation will clear the air on this issue once and for all. 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."
Having expressed clear reservations about the Mueller investigation finding much, Clapper said the next question is what the House committees might do on their own.
Before his "anti-climactic" comments, Clapper was asked by Camerota what he thinks about fired former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe declaring on Friday that it's "possible" that Trump is a "Russian asset," whether "witting or unwitting."
Clapper responded by noting McCabe's "important" caveat that Trump might be an "unwitting" asset, which he noted would "soften" the over-the-top charge "somewhat."
"I do think that it is sort of an institutional obligation or responsibility of the FBI to at least consider that a possibility," he said. "Given the track record and the behavior through the campaign and into the early part of the administration, culiminating in the firing of Jim Comey."
Clapper failed to mention the aggressive actions taken by the administration against Russia since early on in Trump's presidency.
Asked directly if he sees "evidence of some kind that Trump is an unwitting asset of Russia," Clapper responded with some apparent hesitancy. "Well, the strange thing I think that bothered a lot of people, both in and out of the intelligence community, is this strange, uh, personal deference to Putin by the president," he said.
Clapper then suggested that Putin treating Trump "as an 'asset'" makes Trump guilty of being an asset. "I've speculated in the past that the way Putin behaves is to treat President Trump as an 'asset'," said Clapper, noting that he "put that in air quotes."
Pressed on how exactly that was the case, Clapper said, "Becuase ... you consider Putin's background, as a trained, experienced KGB agent, and how he would approach somebody that he is trying to coopt or influence or gain leverage over, and in this case, appeal to ego. And so in that sense, in that context, is what I think of when I mean an 'unwitting asset.'"
But, of course, what Clapper described is simply one international leader "playing" another international leader — not creating an "asset."
Asked what a "witting asset" would look like, Clapper admitted he "rather doubt[s]" that that's the case with Trump. A witting asset is a "recruited asset," he went on to reluctanctly explain, "who is responding to direction of a 'case officer.'"
"I really don't think that's the situation here," he reiterated.
Video below via "New Day":