President Donald Trump announced Tuesday night that he has authorized the declassification of all government documents related to claims that Hillary Clinton and her campaign sought to link him to Russian collusion ahead of the 2016 election.
What are the details?
“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax,” the president tweeted. “Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”
Trump added, “All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country. Act!!!”
The president’s announcement came within hours of Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassifying a heavily redacted CIA memo addressed to former FBI director James Comey and former Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok, who was part of the investigations into both the Clinton email scandal and the Trump-Russia collusion claims.
The memo informed Comey and Strzok of “an exchange…discussing 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 email server.”
Strzok was later fired by the FBI. Comey was later fired by President Trump.
Ratcliffe also released notes taken by former CIA Director John Brennan, showing that Brennan was aware of the allegations. Brennan had written in 2016, “Cite alleged approval by Hillary Clinton (on 28 July) on proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to villify (sic) Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.”
Brennan also wrote “any evidence of collaboration between Trump campaign & Russia,” in a bullet point next to where he had written “POTUS” in the margin.
Fox News reported that “a source familiar with the documents explained that Brennan’s handwritten notes were taken after briefing [President Barack] Obama on the matter.”
Last week, Ratcliffe sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, alerting him 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 [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic National Committee.”
The DNI also wrote that “The IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”
But Ratcliff told Fox on Tuesday, “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.”