Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday that President Donald Trump's downplaying the threat posed by Russia's meddling in last year's election was dangerous to US national security.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" alongside former CIA Director John Brennan, Clapper said: "The threat posed by Russia, as John just said, is manifest and obvious. To try to paint it in any other way is, I think, astounding, and in fact, poses a peril to this country."
Clapper, a CNN analyst, was responding to Trump's mixed comments about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump, while speaking Sunday at a news conference in Hanoi, sought to clarify remarks he made a day earlier which suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin was being sincere in his denials that Moscow engaged in election meddling.
The President stressed he was not accepting Putin's denials at face value, instead saying he merely believed Putin was being genuine.
"I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election," Trump said. "As to whether I believe it or not, I am with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with the leadership."
But he again stopped short of stating explicitly that Russia was behind the interference in the 2016 presidential election, which US intelligence has determined was conducted to help Trump.