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Russian intelligence said Hillary Clinton approved campaign plan to tie Trump to Russian election interference, reveals Trump intel director

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe revealed that U.S. intelligence had learned of claims from Russian intelligence that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved a plan to connect then-candidate Donald Trump to the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

Ratcliffe made the admission in a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday.

“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 [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic National Committee,” wrote Ratcliffe.

“The IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication,” he added.

Ratcliffe went on to say that former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan briefed former President Barack Obama on the claims garnered from Russian intelligence. Those claims were also forwarded to then-FBI Director James Corney and then-Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok.

Graham told CBS News that he would seek to have the notes declassified from the letter. Catherine Herridge of CBS News reported that the notes were discovered by U.S. Attorney John Durham and that they opened up a new line of inquiry in his investigation.

‘This is Russian disinformation’

A spokesperson for Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) condemned the disclosure in a tweet.

“This is Russian disinformation. Laundered by the Director Of National Intelligence and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Rachel Cohen said. “This is extraordinary.”

A spokesperson for Hillary Clinton told Politico that the allegations were “baseless bulls**t.” Democrats also slammed Ratcliffe and Graham for making the Russian assessment public.

Here’s more about Hillary Clinton and the election:

MORE DNC HYSTERIA: Hillary’s back and STILL not over 2016

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‘Trump was right’: New FBI texts show agents ‘scrambling’ over evidence of Russian collusion

As then-President-elect Donald Trump was preparing to assume office in January 2017, the FBI was “scrambling” to put together evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, new texts from an FBI employee involved in the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn show.

The texts were made public Thursday as part of a court filing from Sidney Powell, the attorney leading Flynn’s legal defense team, Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway first reported for the Federalist. Newsweek also reported that the text messages from two unnamed FBI staffers discussed President Barack Obama’s intelligence briefing on Jan. 5, 2017, noting that Trump “was right” about the FBI delaying the briefing with Obama to have more time to build their case.

“What’s the word on how [Obama’s] briefing went?” one text from an FBI staffer stated.

“Don’t know but people here are scrambling for info to support certain things and it’s a mad house,” the reply from his colleague said. “Trump was right. Still not put together… Why do we do this to ourselves. What is wrong with these people.”

On Jan 3, 2017, Trump speculated that the reason for the briefing’s delay until Friday, Jan. 5, was because the FBI did not have its case on Russian interference in the election completely put together for President Obama.

The president has variously referred to allegations of Russian collusion against members of his 2016 campaign team and interference in the election to help him defeat 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as a “hoax” and suggested that President Obama and members of his administration committed “treason.”

After the intelligence briefing, Obama asked Vice President Joe Biden, FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and national security adviser Susan Rice to stay behind to discuss Flynn, who was under investigation for alleged ties with Russia.

Hemingway previously reported for the Federalist that memos written by Comey during the meeting indicated the contents of the infamous Steele dossier were discussed at the intelligence briefing. Comey’s memos mentioned that CNN had obtained the dossier, which is now known to contain false allegations against Trump and disinformation from Russian intelligence. The memos said CNN was looking for a “news hook” to report the salacious allegations used to obtain a FISA court warrant to investigate Carter Page. CNN reported claims from “classified documents” that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump” on Jan. 10, 2017, five days later.

Hemingway, Davis, and other critics of the Obama administration claim this intelligence briefing was used as a pretext to give CNN and others a reason to report the allegations of Russian collusion from the Steele dossier, damaging the credibility of the Trump administration, throwing into question the legitimacy of Trump’s election, and providing Democrats ammunition to use in an impeachment effort against Trump.

Members of the Obama administration have denied the allegations. As Newsweek recounted, Rice and Yates said Obama was concerned about sharing classified information with Flynn given the FBI probe looking into him and wanted to know if the information being shared as part of the presidential administration transition should be restricted.

On Aug. 5, 2017, Yates testified under oath that neither Obama nor Biden attempted to influence the FBI’s investigation of Flynn or the Russia probe. “During the meeting, the president, the vice president, the national security adviser did not attempt to in any way to direct or influence any investigation,” she said.

Additional FBI text messages indicate agents involved in the Russia probe purchased “liability insurance” for their protection.

From The Federalist:

“[W]e all went and purchased professional liability insurance,” one agent texted on Jan. 10, 2017, the same day CNN leaked details that then-President-elect Trump had been briefed by Comey about the bogus Christopher Steele dossier. That briefing of Trump was used as a pretext to legitimize the debunked dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign and compiled by a foreign intelligence officer who was working for a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

“Holy crap,” an agent responded. “All the analysts too?”

“Yep,” the first agent said. “All the folks at the Agency as well.”

“[C]an I ask who are the most likely litigators?” an agent responded. “[A]s far as potentially suing y’all[?]”

“[H]aha, who knows….I think [t]he concern when we got it was that there was a big leak at DOJ and the NYT among others was going to do a piece,” the first agent said.

The agents were apparently concerned how the newly installed Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions might view the actions taken to investigate the Trump campaign.

“If that piece comes out, and Jan 20th comes around… the new AG might have some questions… then yada yada yada… we all get screwed,” one agent wrote.

The text messages also show skepticism over the direction of the Flynn investigation and speculation of political motivations behind the investigations.

“[D]oing all this election research – [I] think some of these guys want a [C]linton presidency,” a text message from August 11, 2016 reads.

In May 2020, the U.S. Justice Department dropped its criminal case against Michael Flynn, following the public release of documents that were unsealed in the case raising questions about the motivations behind the investigation.

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Peter Strzok: History will remember me as a ‘patriot’

Disgraced former FBI official Peter Strzok said Wednesday that he thinks history will ultimately remember him as a “patriot.”

Strzok, a key player in the FBI’s investigation into the Trump administration and alleged Russian collusion in 2016, rose to national infamy after text messages between he and his paramour, FBI agent Lisa Page, were released to the public as a part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

In the texts, Strzok disparaged President Donald Trump and his supporters and an at one point promised to “stop” Trump from becoming president.

The FBI’s 2016 investigation into Trump collusion is now being investigated by United States Attorney John Durham and has been widely criticized for serious missteps, yet Strzok remains proud of his work.

When asked by MSNBC host Katy Tur, “25 years from now, how does history see you?”

Strzok replied: “I think it sees all of us as patriots who were working as hard as we could to defend America against a Russian threat, against a Russian attack on our elections that helped elect the 45th president of the United States.”

Peter Strzok: Trump Associates Had ‘Pervasive Pattern Of Contact’ With Russians | Katy Tur | MSNBC

Strzok was on MSNBC to discuss the Durham investigation and the contents of his new tell-all book about the Russian collusion investigation, called “COMPROMISED: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump.”

During the interview, he continued to suggest that Trump is under the sway of the Russians.

“There are things in President Trump’s background that he does not want known, whether it’s his financial entanglements, whether it’s actions he’s taken in his past that he’s actively and aggressively fighting from becoming known,” Strzok said. “Now if you’re a foreign intelligence service like the Russians have which are [sic] really, really good, you can get to that information.”

“I think that not only have they gotten to it, but that they are using it in a way that is placing a coercive force over him such that he is not able to act in America’s interests,” he continued.

Regarding the Durham investigation, Strzok said that he is not concerned about being a potential target.

“I didn’t do anything wrong, let alone illegal, nor did I see anybody else that I worked with doing anything that was inappropriate,” he clarified. “So I’m not worried about that.”

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Breaking: Trump expected to commute the sentence of Roger Stone as early as tonight

President Donald Trump is expected to use his executive powers to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, his longtime friend, as early as Friday evening.

Fox News first reported the development.

Stone was scheduled to report to prison in order to serve a three year sentence for charges from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Fox News says that sources indicated the president could commute the sentence as early as Friday evening.

Trump hinted at the possibility of a commutation earlier in the day.

“I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated,” said the president to reporters, “as were many people, and in the meantime Comey and all these guys are walking around, including Biden and Obama, because we caught them spying on my campaign. Who would have believed that one?”

Stone also told MSNBC’s Howard Fineman that he didn’t want a pardon from the president, which would imply guilt, but that he wanted a commutation.

“He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him,” said Stone according to Fineman.

“It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t,” he added.

Here are Trump’s comments on Roger Stone’s plight:

JUST IN: Trump talks Roger Stone case, slams Biden and Obama

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Trump re-election campaign slaps New York Times with a lawsuit over claims about Russian collusion

The re-election campaign for President Donald Trump filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times over an opinion article making claims about Russian collusion.

The lawsuit was filed by the campaign at the New York State Supreme Court.

The campaign said in a statement that the lawsuit was meant to “hold the news organization accountable for intentionally publishing false statements against President Trump’s campaign,” according to Reuters.

The complaint was made against an opinion article by Max Frankel in March 2019.

The article was entitled, “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo” with the subhead, “The campaign and the Kremlin had an overarching deal: help beat Hillary Clinton for a new pro-Russian foreign policy.”

Democrats have claimed that the president has been implementing foreign policies favorable to the Russian government in exchange for the interference in the 2016 election they say helped tank Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The president has fired back that he thought it was better to be friends with Russia, and also that he has been the toughest on Russia than any other president.

“As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing,” the president tweeted in May 2019.

The New York Times released a statement in response to the lawsuit.

“The Trump campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable. Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance,” the statement read.

“We look forward to vindicating that right in this case,” the statement concluded.