The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), John Ratcliffe, sent a letter to Senator and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), that stated he was declassifying intelligence indicating that former President Obama’s administration knew of allegations that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was attempting to distract from her email scandal and tie the Trump campaign to Russia before the 2016 presidential election.
Ratcliffe’s letter states, “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, 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,” he continued.
Ratcliffe continued, “On 07 September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral to FBI Director James Corney 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’.” He added, “Additional declassification and public disclosure of related intelligence remains under consideration.”
It is not clear whether any of the declassified intelligence is correct, however, Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller tweeted a response given by DNI Ratcliffe, “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.”
New statement here from Ratcliffe saying this is *not* Russian disinformation. pic.twitter.com/2dBA0j7bNw
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) September 29, 2020
Fox News reported that last night before the debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC asked Hillary Clinton about the allegations in DNI Ratcliffe’s letter. “Madam Secretary, thank you again for being here. I almost hesitate to ask you your reaction to [Republicans] doing this, but I must,” Maddow asked.
“Sure, why not, I mean, it is a sign of such desperation by the Republicans,” Clinton said. “It also is a reminder that Donald Trump knows that the Russians helped him win in 2016 and that is almost the biggest reason he wants to go back to it time and time again because he can’t come to grips with the fact that there will always be an air of illegitimacy around the 2016 campaign.” Clinton went on, insisting that Trump is “always trying to change the subject” and feels Ratcliffe’s letter is the latest example. “Trying to somehow cast aspersions on anyone I happen to be one of his favorite subjects for aspersion casting but mostly it’s just pathetic and a sign of their desperation.”
Chairman Graham, said he would review the information, noting that Ratcliffe would make it available in a classified setting. “This latest information provided by DNI Ratcliffe shows there may have been a double standard by the FBI regarding allegations against the Clinton campaign and Russia.”
Graham added, “Whether these allegations are accurate is not the question. The question is did the FBI investigate the allegations against Clinton like they did Trump? If not, why not? If so, what was the scope of the investigation? If none, why was that?“