Following the release of a letter from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Tuesday revealing that former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was referred to the FBI for allegedly approving a plan to “stir up a scandal against” President Donald Trump involving Russia, Democrats and their media supporters quickly tried to downplay the news.
The letter, as reported by The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra, contained three major points:
In late July 2016, U.S. intelligence agencies obtained insight into Russian intelligence analysis alleging that U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic National Committee. The IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.
According to his handwritten notes, former Central Intelligence Agency Director [John] Brennan subsequently briefed President Obama and other senior national security officials on the intelligence, including the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016 of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services.”
On 07 September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral to FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok regarding “U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private mail server.”
Politico reported that the information underpinning Ratcliffe’s letter was “Russian disinformation” and spoke to Democrats and anonymous sources to bolster its claim.
“It’s very disturbing to me that, 35 days before an election, the director of national intelligence would release unverified Russian [rumor intelligence,” Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) is quoted as saying in the third paragraph of the Politico report.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill called Ratcliffe’s letter “baseless bull***” and former deputy chief of staff for Brennan, Nick Shapiro, said Ratcliffe “should be ashamed of his blatant politicization of his position.”
These are interesting statements coming from Democrats, who ran with obvious Russian disinformation ahead of the 2016 election. Ratcliffe may have said things in a letter, but President Barack Obama’s FBI actually used Russian disinformation to fraudulently obtain FISA warrants against members of Trump’s campaign staff. Recall the falsified evidence, errors, and omissions in the FISA warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Back in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign commissioned Fusion GPS to obtain opposition research on Trump. Fusion hired Christopher Steele, an Ex-British intelligence officer, who put together a shoddy report now known as the Steele Dossier, which confirmed salacious and unconfirmed allegations that Russia had dirt on Trump. Forty-one days before the election, Yahoo! News published an article based on the Steele Dossier, as its author had been one of the many journalists briefed by Steele on his dubious findings. And just eight days before the 2016 election, David Corn published an article mentioning the findings for Mother Jones.
It was the Steele Dossier that formed the basis of the FISA warrants, no matter what Democrats say.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) noted this when reporters confronted him with what Democrats were saying.
“They took the whole damn country through hell for two and a half years — and is it far-fetched to believe that the Clinton campaign would do something like this after Christopher Steele?” Graham said.
By the way, Ratcliffe released a statement later saying: “To be clear, this is not Russian disinformation and has not been assessed as such by the Intelligence Community. I’ll be briefing Congress on the sensitive sources and methods by which it was obtained in the coming days.”