Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Tuesday, declassified documents that revealed former CIA Director John Brennan briefed former President Obama on Hillary Clinton’s purported “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server” ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Fox News reported.
The declassification comes after DNI Ratcliffe, last week, shared newly-declassified information with the Senate Judiciary Committee which revealed that in September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral on Hillary Clinton purportedly approving “a plan concerning U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections” in order to distract the public from her email scandal.
DNI John Ratcliffe, however, declassified John Brennan’s handwritten notes on Tuesday, which were taken after he briefed former President Barack Hussein Obama on the intelligence the CIA received, and a CIA memo, which revealed that officials referred the matter to the FBI for potential investigative action.
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, as reported by The Federalist.
“We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED],” Brennan’s 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.”
Former CIA Director John Brennan reacted Tuesday after DNI Ratcliffe released Brennan’s notes, during an interview with host Jake Tapper on CNN.
Asked about the notes and what he makes of DNI Ratcliffe releasing them, Brennan claimed, “Well, John Ratcliffe is anything but an intelligence professional. He is appalling in his selective declassification of information that is clearly designed to advance the political interests of Donald Trump and Republicans who are aligned with him.”
“But, these were my notes from the 2016 period when I briefed President Obama and the rest of the National Security Council [NSC] team about what the Russians were up to. And I was giving examples of the type of access that the U.S. intelligence community had to Russia information,” Brennan continued. “And what the Russians were talking about and alleging.” Continued Below
“Now if in fact, what the Russians were alleging, that Hillary was trying to highlight the reported connections between Trump and the Russians– if in fact, that was accurate, and that’s a big ‘if’– there is nothing at all illegal about that,” Brennan claimed.
“And so, John Ratcliffe and others are trying to portray this as potentially unlawful activity that deserves public investigation by the FBI. No, it was a campaign activity. … I was blind to whether it referred to one candidate or to the other,” he alleged. “I was blind to whether it referred to one party or the other.”
John Brennan’s remarks:
Ex-CIA Director John Brennan tells CNN the Intelligence Community sent investigative referrals about contacts between Trump 2016 campaign associates and the Russians, suggesting DNI John Ratcliffe release those to balance his "selective" declassifications pic.twitter.com/z7cADeqVVI
— Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) October 6, 2020