Long before the special counsel probe ended in confirming there was no collusion between President Trump and Russia, the U.S. government knew there was no evidence of a vast conspiracy between Trump and a foreign power.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate “ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials” on May 17, 2017. President Obama’s director of national intelligence James Clapper had access and was privy to all the “evidence” the U.S. government collected since the Russia investigation began in July 2016.
From July 2016 until Clapper’s appearance on “Meet the Press” in March 2017, not one shred of evidence linked anyone in Trump’s campaign to allegations listed in the Christopher Steele dossier or Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos’s meeting with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer. Clapper stated to Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on March 5, 2017 that the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Central Intelligence Agency had collected “no evidence” regarding “improper contacts” between Trump and Russia:
CHUCK TODD: Well, that’s an important revelation at this point. Let me ask you this. Does intelligence exist that can definitively answer the following question, whether there were improper contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials?
JAMES CLAPPER: We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, ‘our,’ that’s N.S.A., F.B.I. and C.I.A., with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.
CHUCK TODD: I understand that. But does it exist?
JAMES CLAPPER: Not to my knowledge.
CHUCK TODD: If it existed, it would have been in this report?
JAMES CLAPPER: This could have unfolded or become available in the time since I left the government.
CHUCK TODD: At some–
JAMES CLAPPER: But at the time, we had no evidence of such collusion.
So, President Obama’s top intelligence official and a man with access to FBI, CIA, and NSA surveillance on President Trump’s campaign stated categorically that no evidence existed of “any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians.” This was two months before Rosenstein appointed Mueller special counsel, and Clapper’s knowledge dated into 2017. So why did Rosenstein appoint Mueller?
Furthermore, the intelligence gathered for the reports Clapper referenced was compiled in 2016 and resulted in assessments of confidence, not any guarantees or certainty of the Russians even hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Clapper’s referenced joint Department of Homeland Security and FBI report begins with an actual warranty disclaimer:
DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise.