Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified never before seen handwritten notes corroborating a letter issued last week asserting that not only did the Clinton campaign intend on fabricating ties between the Trump campaign and Russian hackers, but that the Obama administration knew of the plot long before the infamous Russia probe was launched.
Ratcliffe told the Senate Judiciary Committee, as part of their ongoing investigation into the origins of the Russia Investigation, that “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.”
Ratcliffe cautioned the committee at the time, adding, “the [Intelligence Committee] IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”
However, the Obama administration was aware of Clinton’s plot to and approval of creating what is now the highly discredited Steele Dossier, a piece of intelligence by former British spy Christopher Steele alleging Trump was in cahoots with the Kremlin’s hacking of the DNC and dissemination of misinformation. “According to his handwritten notes,” Ratcliffe adds, “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.’”
On Tuesday, Ratcliffe declassified documents supporting this assertion, revealing handwritten notes from CIA Director John Brennan jotted down during the briefing itself.
“Today, at the direction of President Trump, I declassified additional documents relevant to ongoing Congressional oversight and investigative activities,” Ratcliffe told Fox News Tuesday.
“We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED],” Brennan notes read. “CITE [summarizing] alleged approved by Hillary Clinton a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.”
While the pages were almost entirely redacted, “28 of July” was scribbled in the corner and “POTUS” was written in the margin, suggesting either he told this to Obama or the redacted item was a comment made by the president.
“Any evidence of collaboration between Trump campaign + Russia,” the notes also stated.
Not only did the IC and President Obama know of the Clinton campaign’s plot, but “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.’”
The IC saw it fit to investigate the Clinton campaign, not the Trump campaign, for pushing unreliable information.
“JC,” “Susan,” and “Denis” were also listed in the margins. “The notes don’t spell out the full names,” Fox News reports, “but “JC” could be referring to then-FBI Director James Comey, “Susan” could refer to National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and “Denis” could refer to Obama chief of staff Denis McDonough.”
Radcliffe also released a memo from the CIA to FBI director James Comey. “The following information is provided for the exclusive use of your bureau for background investigative action or lead purposes as appropriate,” the stated.
“This memorandum contains sensitive information that could be source revealing. It should be handled with particular attention to compartmentation and need-to-know. To avoid the possible compromise of the source, any investigative action taken in response to the information below should be coordinated in advance with Chief Counterintelligence Mission Center, Legal. It may not be used in any legal proceeding—including FISA applications—without prior approval…”
“Per FBI verbal request, CIA provides the below examples of information the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE fusion cell has gleaned to date,” the memo continued. ““An exchange [REDACTED] discussing US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”
These documents contradict a recent testimony by James Comey before the Senate Judiciary Committee where he was asked by S.C. Senator Lindsey Graham [R] whether he remembered “getting an investigatory lead from the intelligence community? Sept. 7, 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral to James Comey and Strzok regarding Clinton’s approval of a plan [about] Trump…as a means of distraction?”
To which Comey proclaimed, “that doesn’t ring any bells with me”
While a synopsis of the dossier floated around FBI offices throughout the summer of 2016, the FBI only began requesting corroborating documents from Steele in August. It wasn’t received by the FBI Counterintelligence department until mid-September.
During that time, multiple top officials were already expecting some form of possibly erroneous, and potentially Russia originated, opposition coming from the Clinton campaign.
According to previously redacted and internal FBI footnotes on the Steele Dossier’s report, “the [REDACTED] stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and assessed that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations.” Agents believed Steele was part of a “Russian disinformation campaign.”
The Steele Dossier was the chief piece of evidence used to launch the Russia probe and obtain FISA warrants to investigate Trump aid Carter Page for being a “Russian agent,” which were later found to contain 17 lies, omissions, and misleading claims. it’s becoming even more crucial to determine whether the investigation was launched in good faith, or if it was a partisan attack to keep Trump out of office.
When questioned on the document’s authenticity, Radcliffe said, “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.”