Well, the debate is over, but not before some more news about the Russian collusion myth dropped prior to Biden and Trump taking their respective places on the stage. Granted, it was more like Thunderdome, with people noting that Trump interrupted Biden a lot, but the former VP was spewing tons of lies and conspiracy theories. And there was no pushback on that from moderator Chris Wallace, who should sign up as Biden's national spokesperson. It was a disgrace. Trump was debating essentially two people last night, but I digress.
Newly declassified documents show that former President Barack Obama was briefed on Hillary Clinton’s alleged plot to get the ball rolling regarding the Russian collusion investigation into the Trump campaign. Katie wrote about the first trove of documents yesterday:
Newly declassified documents from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe show former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have set up the 2016 Russia investigation into the Trump campaign. The information was released Tuesday afternoon in a letter written to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham.
“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,” the letter states. “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.’”
Of course, Senate Democrats, their staff, and former Clinton campaign operatives have all said this is false, no shock. In these documents released by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, it zeroes in on notes taken by then-CIA Director John Brennan indicating that Obama was briefed on the matter (via Fox News):
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) declassified information indicating that former President Obama's administration knew of allegations that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was attempting to tie Trump to the Russia and distract from her email scandal before the 2016 presidential election.
DNI John Ratcliffe informed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that the prior administration obtained Russian intelligence in July of 2016 with allegations against Clinton, but cautioned that the intelligence community (IC) "does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication."
Ratcliffe's letter doesn't offer specifics on the intelligence but does reveal that former CIA Director John Brennan's handwritten notes show that he briefed Obama on the information. According to his letter, the intelligence included 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."
In a statement on the letter, Ratcliffe pushed back on the idea he was advancing "Russian disinformation." "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.”
Politico reported that Nick Merrill, Clinton's spokesperson, called the allegations "baseless b------t."
In 2016, Hillary Clinton's email fiasco just wouldn't leave the news cycle for a variety of reasons, all of which were because the former first lady couldn't stop stepping on landmines on this issue. Her staff destroyed blackberries with hammers. Hillary's unsecured and unauthorized email server was vulnerable to infiltration by foreign sources. It did contain classified information on it. Also, Hillary said that this arrangement was authorized by the State Department. It wasn't. In fact, the State Department noted that if she had asked, it wouldn't have been allowed. That's why this story stuck around. She lied. And kept lying. Also, sorry, a presidential candidate mishandling classified information is a story.
CNN’s Jake Tapper didn't buy her story that the server was permitted. Also, why did Hillary order an aide to strip the classified markers on State Department documents? Why did she then instruct those aides to send such sensitive material via insecure means? And yes, one of the chains she sent that was analyzed by the FBI during their probe was classified at the time it was sent. Oh, and the server was hacked. So, going by these allegations, I could see why she would want a distraction.
And while the two-time loser wonders why the press zeroed in on her, it’s because she lied, got caught, continued to lie, and then avoided the press. And we haven't even touched upon the Clinton Foundation slush fund, where allies allegedly deposited favors for the power couple in return for lucrative socioeconomic benefits down the road. There's a reason why 'crooked Hillary' stuck.
We'll see what comes of this, but it's clearer by the day that Obama was well-aware of the Russia collusion nonsense, even convening a meeting on January 5, 2017, with his top law enforcement and national security officials to hash out how to protect the FBI's investigation from the incoming Trump administration.
Joe Biden was the person who floated using the Logan Act to go after Michael Flynn.