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(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Well, director, he made the assertion. He made the assertion and then he back tracked saying well, it's just his suspicion, which is -- which I thought as a, you know, as one of the chief law enforcement officers in the country, that was odd.
CLAPPER: Well, and to say so publicly in that form. And again, if he had suspicion or concern about it, it seems to me, that's something he should have determined or asked about, certainly the first week he was in office.
LEMON: By that point though, right -- but what I just mentioned when he said it -- there were already a bunch of headlines. The attorney general says that Trump campaign was spied on. Too little, too late for the clarification I would imagine. Do you think that was the point?
CLAPPER: Well, absolutely. The damage was done. I mean, that statement will be picked up, amplified by Fox News and everybody else. I think it really does a disservice, which is, you know, we've got a mountain of that already, a disservice to the FBI.
LEMON: So,Director, if --
CLAPPER: The other way -- one point I need to make, Don, here --
CLAPPER: -- is which is important to me is, you know, with all this distraction, we are losing site here of the threat posed by the Russians. That's how this all started. Was what the Russians were doing to meddle in our political processes?
And to the extent that anyone in the Trump camp was under surveillance, it was a factor of their association with Russians who were validated intelligence targets. And that's what concerned us before the end of the last administration. Why all these meetings with Russians?
So, I think -- I would argue that the FBI would have been derelict had they not at least looked into this. And indivertibly with counterintelligence investigations they try to be as discrete as possible, limit the exposure as much as they possibly can and also be careful about who they talk to about it until they know who is, who might be complicit or not.
LEMON: I want you to watch this,Director, because it's really surprising. Barr doesn't seem to know a key detail about the investigation. Watch this."