And several former senior intelligence officials have described Ratcliffe’s move as incendiary and irresponsible, given the way he publicly released unverified information that originated. from a foreign opponent.
The assessment states that Hillary Clinton, then Democratic presidential candidate, personally endorsed an effort “to stir up a scandal against US presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee.” But in his letter to Graham, Ratcliffe noted that the US intelligence community “does not know the accuracy of this accusation or the extent to which the analysis of Russian intelligence may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”
The Senate Intelligence Services Committee has released five reports on Russia’s extensive effort to meddle in the 2016 election to boost Trump, which span thousands of pages. The jury was notified of this allegation early in its investigation and quickly dismissed it, the sources said.
“I am very, very proud of the intelligence committee’s bipartisan work – three and a half years, five volumes – and that work speaks for itself,” Warner said.
According to Ratcliffe, former CIA Director John Brennan briefed former President Barack Obama about the Russian assessment, which included accusations that Clinton approved the plan to tie Trump to hacking the DNC after it was proposed by one of the his foreign policy advisers.
Asked about Ratcliffe’s claims, Nick Merrill, a spokesperson for Clinton, said in a text message that the allegations were “baseless bullshit.”
A spokesperson for Brennan did not immediately answer questions about Ratcliffe’s claims.
After receiving pushbacks against the declassified material, Ratcliffe said in a statement: “To be clear, this is not Russian misinformation and has not been evaluated as such by the intelligence community. In the next few days I will inform the Congress on the sensitive sources and the methods by which it was obtained “.
Graham responded to his criticisms later Tuesday, saying the veracity of the Russian intelligence assessment was irrelevant.
“I’m not saying whether that’s true or not,” Graham told reporters. “I’m asking the Democrats, do you care if the FBI has investigated, or are you just interested in investigating Trump?”
When asked why he had released the information even though it hadn’t been verified, Graham called it “the ultimate double standard.”
“They took the whole damn country to hell for two and a half years – and is it unlikely that the Clinton campaign would have done something like this after Christopher Steele?” Graham said referring to the author of an unverified dossier of claims about Trump’s connections with Russia.
A former senior intelligence official said it was “a surprising choice to release this information – which is not new and appears unconfirmed – now and in an unclassified letter,” adding, “I don’t know what good purpose it served. “.
It has long been known that the Russians tried to elicit false narratives about Clinton through similar avenues.
In recent days, Trump’s allies have released several revelations relating to the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other information aimed at disparaging Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Graham’s committee will hear former FBI director James Comey on Wednesday as part of that extensive investigation conducted by the GOP. Graham also announced Tuesday that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe will testify before the panel next week. McCabe agreed to appear voluntarily, according to an aide. McCabe’s attorney said on Tuesday he was denied access to his old files, which he says are necessary to prepare for his testimony.
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was among those on the right who spotlighted the disclosure on Tuesday, writing on Twitter: “The Russian hoax was Hillary’s plan, and the Obama-Biden White House was notified.”
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.