President Donald Trump today took a swipe former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper after Clapper said he was concerned Trump was not fit to be president.
"I really question his ability to be -- his fitness to be -- in this office, and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it," Clapper told CNN. He added that Trump's remarks at a raucous and controversial campaign-style rally in Arizona were "downright scary and disturbing."
"How much longer does the country have to, to borrow a phrase, endure this nightmare?" said Clapper, who left his position when Trump took office in January.
Today Trump fired back in a tweet, writing, "James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?"
Trump appears to be referring to Congressional testimony Clapper gave in March 2013 when he was asked directly if the U.S. government collected data on millions of Americans.
"No, sir... not wittingly," he said. "There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect. But not wittingly."
However it was later revealed that the National Security Agency did collect the metadata of communications involving Americans under the Patriot Act.
In July 2013, Clapper sent an apology letter to lawmakers in which he said his testimony was "clearly erroneous." He said he thought Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who posed the question, was asking about the content of the communications and that the other pertinent section of the Patriot Act didn't come to mind.
"So, yes, I made a mistake. But I did not lie. There’s a big difference," Clapper said in a public, online Q and A in February 2016.
At the time Wyden and other lawmakers didn't buy Clapper's excuse. In January 2014, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., led a group of mostly Republican lawmakers to push for then-President Barack Obama to remove Clapper for "lying to Congress under oath."
Obama disagreed and kept Clapper on for the duration of his presidency. In March 2017, Trump's pick, retired lawmaker and ex-ambassador Dan Coats, became the new Director of National Intelligence.