Two of the three former high-ranking intelligence officials said that the investigation required a probe “outside the executive branch.”
Three prominent former intelligence officials expressed the shared belief that only an independent investigation can get to the bottom of alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian hacking into the 2016 election. All three made the comments at a Senate Armed Services hearing on Thursday.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden echoed remarks he had made hours earlier on CNN, saying that he “instinctively oppose[s]” independent investigations. However, the firing of FBI Director James Comey gave Hayden a “far more open mind” to independent commissions.
James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, doubted that the executive branch can effectively pursue the investigation, given the Trump administration’s actions. “I’ve reached the point where we need to think about [independent investigations],” Clapper said.
Clapper added that the firing of Comey moved his point of view toward “a commission or special prosecutor.”
“The events call for something outside the executive branch,” former NATO Supreme Commander James Stavridis said.
Stavridis did not say what kind of investigative structure would be needed, leaving the decision up to Congress.
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