As the election draws near, President Trump’s political appointees, private lawyers and GOP allies on Capitol Hill are escalating their campaign to help the Russians interfere in U.S. politics. Now they’re effectively asking Americans to side with Russian intelligence services over the U.S. intelligence community — and the president is going along.
Over the past few months, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, GOP senators, U.S. lobbyists and pro-Trump media organizations have been working with Russian intelligence agents to launder Russian disinformation about the Bidens and Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This effort is “probably” directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, according to a secret CIA assessment I revealed in September.
Now, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe is working to spread Russian intelligence directly— without even bothering to launder it. On Sept. 29, he sent a letter to Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) in which he announced that he was declassifying a Russian intelligence assessment obtained by the U.S. intelligence community in late July 2016. The Russian assessment described an alleged Clinton campaign effort to “stir up a scandal” by tying then-candidate Donald Trump to Putin and Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee. [Continue reading…]