Somehow, blockbuster news from earlier this month never quite made it to the mainstream news cycle. That is, news that recently released Russian intelligence reports claim Hillary Clinton financed and helped to plan the lies about Trump and Russia collusion. There is also new evidence that the Obama administration — including Joe Biden, State Department leaders, and others — also knew about the plan to frame Trump from its inception.
On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified and released to Congress handwritten notes from former CIA Director John Brennan as well as a CIA investigative referral to James Comey and Peter Strzok requesting that they investigate Russian knowledge of Hillary Clinton’s anti-Trump collusion smear operation.
National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe on Tuesday declassified documents about a claim Hillary Clinton ordered “a campaign plan to stir up a scandal” by linking President Trump to Russia in 2016 — and that indicate then-President Barack Obama knew about her possible role.
Top U.S. intelligence officials were so concerned heading into the 2016 election that the Russians were aware of and potentially manipulating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s plans to smear Donald Trump as a Russian agent that they personally briefed President Barack Obama on the matter, newly declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents show. CIA officials also requested that the FBI investigate Russian knowledge of the Clinton campaign’s collusion smear operation.
The newly released notes from Brennan, who now is a fiery anti-Trump commentator, indicate that Brennan briefed Obama on “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 28 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.”
Ratcliffe’s initial disclosure said that, according to Brennan’s notes, Clinton allegedly approved the scheme on July 26. The minor inaccuracy shortens the window of time between Clinton’s alleged approval of the plot and the FBI opening its investigation of possible Trump-Russia collusion on July 31, 2016.
According to the declassified notes, Brennan and the U.S. intelligence community knew months prior to the 2016 election that the collusion smear was the result of a campaign operation hatched by the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“We’re getting additional insight into Russian activites from [REDACTED],” Brennan’s handwritten notes state. “Cite alleged approval by Hillary Clinton–on 26 July–of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to villify [sic] Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security services.”
The notes appear to have been prepared by Brennan to memorialize a meeting held at the White House with the president and his top national security advisers. Included in Brennan’s notes are the responses of other participants in the briefing — including those of former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and former DNI James Clapper, but those responses are redacted.
At one point, Obama asked whether there was any evidence of collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia, but any response that may have been recorded in Brennan’s notes is redacted.
The CIA and other intelligence agencies also suspected early on that many of the key claims underpinning the collusion narrative could themselves be the product of deliberate Russian disinformation.
While the Clinton campaign hired Christopher Steele, a foreign agent in the pocket of a sanctioned Russian oligarch, to concoct a dossier of allegations against Trump, the primary source of the most salacious and damning allegations of treasonous collusion came from a suspected Russian spy named Igor Danchenko. Last month, Attorney General William Barr informed Congress that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was so concerned about Danchenko, who had been dubbed the “Primary Sub-Source” used by Clinton campaign sub-contractor Christopher Steele in his thoroughly debunked Steele dossier, that it had previously deemed him a national security threat and investigated him to determine if he was a Russian spy. The bureau called off the investigation once Danchenko left the United States and was no longer within the purview of the FBI’s domestic counterintelligence mission.
The CIA remains convinced that Russian intelligence believed as early as summer of 2016 that the Clinton campaign launched its anti-Trump collusion smear operation to distract from Clinton’s e-mail scandal. In October of 2017, the top lawyer for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee finally confessed publicly that he had personally hired the Democrat opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which paid Steele to peddle allegations that Trump was a secret Russian agent working on behalf of Vladimir Putin.