Trump 'playing into Putin's hands' with 'disastrous' plan to withdraw from NATO: Ex-intel chief Clapper
James Clapper (MSNBC)

Appearing on CNN's "New Day," former National Intelligence director James Clapper accused Donald Trump of ''playing into the hands" of Russian President Vladimir Putin with his desire to withdraw from NATO.

Recent reports have indicated that Trump no longer believes the U.S. should remain a member of the military alliance that binds the United States to Europe and Canada to halt aggression.

Speaking with host Alisyn Camerota, Clapper seemed appalled at the idea that the president sees no need to remain part of the organization, saying Putin would likely be pleased if the U.S. abandoned the other countries.

"If this was in fact a topic of discussion in secret sessions between Putin and President Trump, that's really terrible," Clapper began. "Withdrawing from NATO -- even discussing withdrawing from NATO -- would be disastrous for the security of the United States."

"This is not about the U.S. just protecting NATO, because the U.S. derives benefit from being forward deployed where our first line of defense is our own shore," he explained. "This would play into Putin's hands."

"This is a primary objective of Putin, to drive wedges between European countries and a wedge between Europe and the United States," he elaborated. "This would be, to me, a real disaster. NATO has been a bulwark for both us and Europe for 70 years."

Clapper went on to criticize Trump from hiding transcripts of private conversations he's had with Putin, saying Americans should be "very concerned."

You can watch the video below via CNN: