Ex-US intelligence chief James Clapper questions Donald Trump's fitness for office after Phoenix speech

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The former US Director of National Intelligence has publicly questioned Donald Trump’s fitness for office after the President delivered another controversial speech in Phoenix, Arizona last night.

James Clapper called Trump’s speech “disturbing”, saying the President could be a threat to national security.  

In a CNN interview with Don Lemon, Clapper said: “I toiled in one capacity or another for every president including JFK through to president Obama and I don’t know when I’ve listened and watched something like this from a president that I’ve found more disturbing.”

When Lemon asked if he was questioning President Trump’s fitness, Clapper replied: “Yes I do, I really question his ability to, his fitness to be in this office.”

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He added that Trump “certainly could be” a threat to America’s national security: “Having some understand of the levers a president can exercise I worry about, frankly, the access to nuclear codes.

“If in a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un, there is actually very little to stop him.

“The whole system’s built to ensure a rapid response if necessary, so there are very little in the way of controls over you know, exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.”

During an effusive 77 minute speech at a Phoenix rally last night, President Trump spoke of what he framed as improving relations with North Korea after months of nuclear tension. 

“I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us,” he said of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“And maybe – probably not, but maybe – something positive can come about.”

He also read from his three previous responses to the white-supremacist violence in Charlottesville, blasting the “dishonest media” for misrepresenting his remarks. He ommitted an earlier statement which had blamed violence “on both sides.”

Meanwhile, Republican strategist and political commentator Ana Navarro said on Twitter that Trump’s inflammatory speech could be a sign of dementia:

Outside the centre where Trump was speaking, scuffles between thousands of anti-Trump protesters and Trump supporters resulted in police using tear gas in a chaotic attempt to break up crowds. 

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