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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper referred to President Donald Trump as a Russian "asset" on Monday.

Clapper was asked by CNN's Jim Sciutto about the difference between Trump's criticism of Russia as a rival power and his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin after the Russian leader foiled a terror attack using CIA intelligence.

"I think that this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is," Clapper said.

"He knows how to handle an asset and that's what he's doing with the president," he said.

Sciutto asked Clapper to reiterate his statement, to confirm whether he was indeed calling the American president an "asset" of Russia.

"That's the appearance to me," Clapper said. "He's a [former] KGB officer. That's what they do. They recruit assets."

Clapper said Putin's experience in the KGB is helping him in "managing a pretty important account for him," referring to Trump.

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