James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said Tuesday that White House chief of staff John Kelly is "reminiscent" of Mike Flynn, the former national security adviser who resigned under pressure last year.
Now a contributor for CNN, Clapper was asked by "CNN Tonight" host Don Lemon if Kelly should "go" amid the backlash Kelly has received for his handling of the controversy surrounding former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last week following reports of his two ex-wives accusing him of domestic abuse.
Clapper explained the limited extent of his familiarity with Kelly — admitting that he doesn't know him "well" — but said Kelly was a "great Marine." But now that Kelly is in the White House, after a stint leading the Homeland Security Department, Clapper said there has been a "sad" turn of events.
"To me, somewhat reminiscent of Mike Flynn, to be honest," Clapper said. "He just seems to have changed since he's fallen into the orb of the president. And it's — I — it's kind of sad, for me."
Former DNI James Clapper says White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is reminiscent of Mike Flynn: "He just seemed to have changed since he's fallen into the orb of the President. It's kind of sad for me." pic.twitter.com/Xv0neBABdp— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) February 14, 2018
Kelly has endured intense backlash for initially defending Porter as reports of the allegations, which Porter denies, first came out and there are questions about why Porter was kept on staff after the FBI provided details on its findings in its background check on Kelly's subordinate.
However, the White House has pushed back on reports that White House counsel Don McGahn and Kelly knew for months about the abuse allegations.
Meanwhile, Flynn's name has returned to the spotlight this week after the Washington Examiner's Byron York reported that in March 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers that he was informed by FBI agents who interviewed Flynn that they didn't believe he lied despite widespread reporting at the time that said he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about telephone conversations that he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Still, Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, later pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI in that Jan. 24 questioning.