Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told an audience in Australia Wednesday that in his view, the Russia scandal facing the Trump administration is far worse than the Watergate scandal that President Nixon faced.

"I think [if] you compare the two, that Watergate pales really in my view compared to what we're confronting now," Clapper said.

According to a transcript of his remarks, Clapper said he called then-President-elect Trump when Trump dismissed the intelligence community's assessment that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 election. Clapper said Trump called intelligence officials "Nazis" in an apparent attempt to attack anyone questioning the legitimacy of the election.

"I tried, naively it turned out, to appeal to his higher instincts, by pointing out that the intelligence community he was about to inherit is a national treasure," Clapper said.

"Ever transactional, [Trump] simply asked me to publicly refute the infamous 'dossier,' which I could not and would not do," he added.