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James Clapper says federal government should end Russia probe ‘soon’

Former director of National Intelligence James Clapper arrives at a closed hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, May 16, 2018. (AFP photo)

The former head of the US Intelligence Community, James Clapper, says he hopes the Justice Department would conclude its year-long probe into the alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s election campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

In an interview with The Hill newspaper on Monday, Clapper, who was the Director of National Intelligence during the administration of former President Barack Obama, said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should wrap up his Russia election probe soon.

“I think the overarching point here is that this whole issue has to come to a resolution,” Clapper said.

“At some point, Special Counsel Mueller and his team, I hope will wrap up the investigation and clear the air one way or the other whether or not there was collusion with the Russians,” he added. “This is a cloud that is hanging over the country and certainly hanging over this presidency. And I do hope that happens, and soon.”

Clapper also addressed last week’s report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, saying anti-Trump text messages between FBI agents were “not good, particularly using a government issued device,”

But he said he has not seen evidence yet that those opinions affected the outcome of the Trump-Russia probes. ‘But the actual impact on the investigation I don’t see much of that,” he said.

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations that his campaign colluded with Russians and has condemned the investigations. Russia has also denied the allegations.

Trump has also labeled Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” and has suggested that Russians might have meddled in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department Inspector General on Thursday released a critical report on the FBI's conduct while investigating scandals linked to the presidential election.

The report largely focused on the agency’s handling of the probe into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's misuse of a private email server.

Trump on Friday painted the Inspector General's report as proof that Mueller's investigation is biased and said the report cleared him.

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