Why did the FBI in 2016 think that the campaign of candidate Donald Trump was conspiring with the Russians? Did the world’s premier law enforcement agency launch a major investigation based upon idle gossip between an American citizen and a foreign national? A September 29 letter from the director of national intelligence to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) might provide answers to these questions – and point toward the most damaging evidence yet that the Bureau was determined to ensure that Donald Trump never became president of the United States.
The alleged hacking of Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails became the biggest story of the 2016 presidential contest. Perhaps that security breach provided the perfect opportunity for one campaign to fabricate a sinister plot between a foreign government and its opposition. The most recent revelation from the office of the director of national intelligence (ODNI) appears to indicate that this may be the case.
It is worth bearing in mind that the American people have yet to be provided with conclusive evidence that DNC and Clinton campaign emails were hacked at all. We have been told, thus far, to simply accept the word of the intelligence community.
A Curious Lack of Urgency
In July of 2016, according to information obtained by the ODNI, the Central Intelligence Agency became aware that the Clinton presidential campaign sought to concoct a tale of a conspiracy between the Russian government and the campaign team of Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump.
The ODNI letter to Sen. Graham outlines some troubling findings that will, we must assume, be fleshed out in future revelations. Former CIA Director John Brennan briefed then-President Barack Obama and national security officials on an “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.”
On September 7 – and it is not clear why there was a more than six-week delay – an investigative referral was passed to the FBI, specifically to Director James Comey and Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok. According to the ODNI letter to Sen. Graham, this referral cited “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 mail server.”
Obviously, this revelation is not unknown to the Department of Justice. Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham, who is leading the DOJ’s investigation into the genesis of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, will be following the trail.
The letter describes the transmission of a Russian intelligence analysis between top U.S. officials – but is the content of this analysis accurate, and is the substance of the allegations reliable?
According to Politico, the assessment “was previously rejected by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee as having no factual basis, according to two sources familiar with the matter.” James Comey will likely be answering questions on this Tuesday, September 30, when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who chairs the committee, is reported to have not weighed the accuracy of the report, saying, “[t]he question is, did the FBI investigate the allegations against Clinton like they did Trump? If not, why not?”
With James Comey set to testify, things are only getting more interesting in the run-up to the presidential election. Of course, none of this may change the minds of voters, but the president’s supporters – many of whom feel that justice has been far too long delayed – might yet see a reckoning that they consider long overdue.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.