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 Comey 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.
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