Top U.S. intelligence officials were so concerned heading into the 2016 election that the Russians were aware of and potentially manipulating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s plans to smear Donald Trump as a Russian agent that they personally briefed President Barack Obama on the matter, newly declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents show. CIA officials also requested that the FBI investigate Russian knowledge of the Clinton campaign’s collusion smear operation.
Newly declassified handwritten notes from former CIA Director John Brennan show that the U.S. intelligence community knew in 2016 that Russian intelligence was actively monitoring, and potentially injecting disinformation into, Clinton’s anti-Trump collusion narrative. The intelligence concerning Russia’s knowledge of Clinton’s campaign plans was so concerning to Brennan and other national security officials that they personally informed Obama of the matter in the Oval Office in the summer of 2016. The handwritten notes from Brennan were declassified by Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe and provided to Congress on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the declassified notes, Brennan and the U.S. intelligence community knew months prior to the 2016 election that the collusion smear was the result of a campaign operation hatched by the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“We’re getting additional insight into Russian activites from [REDACTED],” Brennan’s handwritten notes state. “Cite alleged approval by Hillary Clinton–on 26 July–of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to villify [sic] Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security services.”
The notes appear to have been prepared by Brennan to memorialize a meeting held at the White House with the president and his top national security advisers. Included in Brennan’s notes are the responses of other participants in the briefing — including those of former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and former DNI James Clapper, but those responses are redacted.
At one point, Obama asked whether there was any evidence of collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia, but any response that may have been recorded in Brennan’s notes is redacted.
Moreover, the CIA and other intelligence agencies also suspected early on that many of the key claims underpinning the collusion narrative could themselves be the product of deliberate Russian disinformation. Last week, Ratcliffe released a declassified memo, based in part on Brennan’s notes, noting that Russian intelligence was aware of the Clinton campaign’s plan, increasing the likelihood that it would be tainted by Russian disinformation.
While the Clinton campaign hired Christopher Steele, a foreign agent in the pocket of a sanctioned Russian oligarch, to concoct a dossier of allegations against Trump, the primary source of the most salacious and damning allegations of treasonous collusion came from a suspected Russian spy named Igor Danchenko. Last month, Attorney General William Barr informed Congress that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was so concerned about Danchenko, who had been dubbed the “Primary Sub-Source” used by Clinton campaign sub-contractor Christopher Steele in his thoroughly debunked Steele dossier, that it had previously deemed him a national security threat and investigated him to determine if he was a Russian spy. The bureau called off the investigation once Danchenko left the United States and was no longer within the purview of the FBI’s domestic counterintelligence mission.
Although Democratic lawmakers have claimed, without evidence, that the latest declassifications are themselves the product of Russian disinformation, multiple senior intelligence officials told The Federalist that the CIA remains convinced that Russian intelligence sincerely believed as early as summer of 2016 that the Clinton campaign launched its anti-Trump collusion smear operation to distract from Clinton’s e-mail scandal. In October of 2017, the top lawyer for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee finally confessed publicly that he had personally hired the Democrat opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which paid Steele to peddle allegations that Trump was a secret Russian agent working on behalf of Vladimir Putin.
Ratcliffe also declassified on Tuesday portions of a formal CIA investigative referral sent on Sept. 7, 2016, to fired former FBI Director James Comey and fired former counterintelligence official Peter Strzok asking them to investigate the Clinton campaign’s anti-Trump collusion smear operation in light of Russia’s knowledge of the plan and the likelihood it could be tainted by deliberate Russian disinformation. Rather than act on the CIA investigative referral in the same manner they had launched a full-blown counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, Strzok and Comey refused to initiate an investigation.
“Per FBI verbal request, CIA provides the below examples of information the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE fusion cell has gleaned to date,” the memo states. “An exchange [REDACTED] discussing US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of private e-mail server.”
The cover note of the memorandum stated that the information within was provided to the FBI “for the exclusive use of your Bureau for background, investigative action, or lead purposes, as appropriate.”
There is no evidence the FBI ever took any action to ensure that Russian knowledge of Clinton’s plans did not lead to infiltration of that campaign’s operation by Russian intelligence agents. The CIA referral, specifically its reference to a “CROSSFIRE HURRICANE fusion cell,” suggests that the Obama administration’s anti-Trump investigation may not have been limited to the FBI, but may have included the use of CIA assets and surveillance capabilities, raising troubling questions about whether the nation’s top spy service was weaponized against a U.S. political campaign.
The CIA referral declassified and released by Ratcliffe shows that it was personally addressed to both Comey and Strzok. Because the CIA does not have legal authority to police domestic matters, it informed the FBI of the agency’s concerns about potential Russian knowledge of Clinton campaign’s plan to smear Trump as a Russian asset, especially given the FBI’s ongoing counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. Not only did the FBI refuse to investigate whether the Russians were using the Clinton campaign to interfere in the 2016 national election, but Comey also claimed last week that he knew nothing whatsoever about the CIA investigative referral.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Comey point blank whether he remembered receiving a referral from the CIA personally addressed to him. Comey claimed that he had zero recollection of the CIA asking him to investigate whether the Clinton campaign was potentially compromised by Russian disinformation artists.
“That doesn’t ring any bells with me,” Comey claimed under oath.
“You don’t recall this inquiry I just read about September 2016?” Graham followed up, referring to the CIA referral sent to Comey on Sept. 7, 2016.
“No, as I said it doesn’t…It doesn’t sound familiar,” Comey again claimed.
Following a lengthy investigation of FBI abuses of power under Comey’s watch, the Deparment of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded in its summary report that Comey had repeatedly violated FBI policies and cast a cloud over the entire bureau, damaging its reputation and that of its 35,000 employees.
“Comey set a dangerous example,” the reported stated. Although the OIG referred Comey to DOJ for criminal investigation and potential prosecution, DOJ ultimately refused to hold Comey accountable. Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, was similarly referred for criminal investigation after he repeatedly lied to DOJ officials under oath, but DOJ also refused to prosecute McCabe for lying under oath.
One of Comey’s attorneys at the FBI and a member of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team recently pleaded guilty to charges of fabricating evidence in an application to spy on former Trump campaign affiliate Carter Page.
Author: Sean Davis
Twitter Ban ‘Nearly Doubled’ The Visibility Of Hunter Biden Laptop Story
Twitter’s crackdown on a controversial New York Post story that “purported to show new emails from Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, about his business dealings while Joe Biden was the vice president in the Obama administration,” “nearly doubled” the story’s visibility and triggered the so-called “Streisand Effect,” amplifying the Post’s claims, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a high-profile media intelligence firm.
“When Twitter banned, and then unbanned, links to a questionably sourced New York Post article about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, its stated intention was to prevent people from spreading harmful false material as America heads into the final stretch of the election campaign,” MIT’s Technology Review reported Monday. “But thanks to the cycle of misinformation—and claims from conservatives that social-media platforms are deliberately censoring their views—Twitter managed to do the opposite of what it intended.”
In fact, Twitter’s efforts triggered a massive spike in interest in the story. “According to Zignal Labs, a media intelligence firm, shares of the Post article ‘nearly doubled’ after Twitter started suppressing it,” MIT noted.
The incident was a real-time example of what Zignal Lab’s calls the “Streisand Effect” — a “social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove or censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information, often via the Internet,” according to Wikipedia. The name comes from singer Barbra Streisand’s efforts, in 2003, to suppress a photo of her Malibu, California, residence over security concerns.
According to Zignal Labs, the effect was immediate and significant.
“Zignal found a surge of shares immediately after Twitter instituted the block, jumping from about 5.5 thousand shares every 15 minutes to about 10 thousand. This doesn’t necessarily mean the block caused the explosion in interest, but the surge corresponds with a series of widely shared tweets from Trump supporters and conservatives accusing the platform of political censorship,” MIT noted Monday.
“The New York Post story, which was blocked on Twitter for about a day, was shared 352,200 times on the platform,” they added.
Twitter now famously blocked the New York Post’s story, citing its policy against unverified information and “hacked materials,” though the social media platform never specified how the story ran afoul of either policy. After a fierce outcry, Twitter reversed its position on the story, as The Daily Wire reported over the weekend, and pledged to change its “hacked materials” policy. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, even seemed to apologize, tweeting that “[s]traight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that.”
Twitter, however, did not release its hold on the New York Post’s account, which was locked almost as soon as the initial story about Hunter Biden’s laptop was published, demanding that, to regain access, the Post delete six tweets referencing the coverage.
Worse, still, for Twitter, it appears the incident will now result in a full-scale Congressional investigation. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have both expressed a willingness to subpoena Twitter officials, including Dorsey. The Republican National Committee also filed a Federal Election Commission claim against the platform Friday, claiming that Twitter’s efforts to suppress the story “amounts to an illegal corporate in-kind political contribution to the Biden campaign.”
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.
Author: Emily Zanotti
Source: Daily Wire : MIT: Twitter Ban ‘Nearly Doubled’ The Visibility Of Hunter Biden Laptop Story
Leftists Blast Trump Over Viral Video Showing Him Give Money At Church: ‘Cheap Bastard’
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t
President Donald Trump was excoriated on social media Sunday after a viral video showed him placing a wad of $20 dollar bills into the collection bucket at a Las Vegas church.
Trump attended the morning service at the International Church of Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During the service, Pastor Marc Paul Goulet led his congregation to pray over Trump and announced he would fast one day per week for Trump until Election Day.
“This is your third time here. That means you’re a church member,” Goulet said during the service. “I don’t care what anybody says. I love my president.”
During the part of the service where the church collected the offering, video showed the president retrieve multiple $20 dollar bills from his suit jacket and place the money in an offering bucket.
It wasn’t clear exactly how much money the president gave to the church, an act that is viewed as private and only between God and the giver.
WATCH: President Trump gives money during services at the International Church of Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/ZJIKpHm2Sr
— The Hill (@thehill) October 18, 2020
Video and photos of Trump went viral, triggering yet another pummeling of the president.
Some detractors criticized the amount of money Trump gave; others claimed Trump attended the church service simply to curry favor with Christian voters ahead of Election Day.
“You could see how it much it pained him to donate money,” one person said.
“Wow, he ‘tithes’ as close as I can guess from the video…40ish $…. so that means he has an income of. ????? I am the pastor of a church in rural Missouri. My husband and I, along with my congregation ‘tithe’ far more than he does. This man is not a Christian, he is pandering,” another person said.
“The way he carefully counts and recounts the money is like me, when I’m debating whether to tip the barista $1 or not. Cheap bastard recognize cheap bastard,” one person commented.
This is the first time he has went to church in forever. He is just using this as another photo opp. Also i would love to hear him say the lord’s pray,” another person said.
“Funny how trump made it to church with 2 weeks to election when he was unable due to golf for the last 3 3/4 years,” another person commented.
“Donated $20. Wrote off $1.6 million on his taxes,” one person mocked.
“What are the chances that he even carries cash. The secret service guy most likely had to slip that to him. Name one thing that he would ever do with cash. (Other than launder someone else’s),” another person responded.
“He must really be worried about his poll numbers to show up at a church service,” another person said.
However, for as much hate leftists poured onto Trump, he was also widely praised for giving money during the service.
Author: Chris Enloe
The Biden Corruption Scandal Isn’t About Hunter, It’s About Joe
The Hunter Biden scandal indicates that Joe Biden, while vice president of the United States, knowingly allowed his son to sell access to the Obama administration, then lied about it.
Hunter Biden’s addiction is not the issue. Joe Biden’s addiction is: His addiction to power and money. And it is the evidence of the former vice president’s corruption, and the national security risk our country would face by electing Biden, that is the story of the MacBook hard drive, not the salacious, verified photographs and videos of Hunter Biden.
For nearly a week, corporate media successfully ignored or downplayed news of the trove of Hunter Biden’s emails, texts, photographs, and videos recovered from a laptop abandoned at a Delaware computer repair store. Then confirmation of the authenticity of the materials first reported in the New York Post, and the release of a second set of emails — also confirmed— from another source finally forced the press to acknowledge the issue.
On Friday evening, CBS News’ Bo Erickson asked Joe Biden about the New York Post story as the Democrat candidate for president departed from a campaign stop in Michigan. “I have no response. It’s another smear campaign — right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask,” Biden snipped at the long-time reporter.
With more details coming out daily, this non-answer will not placate even a compliant press for long. Nor will the “Russia disinformation” narrative pushed by Biden’s media boosters suffice because multiple confirmations of the evidence establish this story is not disinformation.
So, the dissembling will start, with Biden attempting to make the story about his son’s drug addiction. We already saw this when President Trump hit his opponent during the first presidential debate with the fact that once Biden “became vice president [Hunter] made a fortune in Ukraine, in China, in Moscow and various other places.” Biden’s first response was outright denial: “That is not true.” But that won’t work with the constantly accumulating evidence from the hard drive and the other independent emails.
So Biden’s second tack will likely be his campaign’s official response once they regroup over the weekend: “My son, like a lot of people at home, had a drug problem. He’s overtaking it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him, I’m proud of my son,” Biden punched back during the first presidential debate.
Wisely, President Trump ignored the misdirection, replying, “But why was he given tens of millions of dollars?” “Moderator” Chris Wallace rescued Biden by interjecting, “We’ve already been through this. I think the American people would rather hear about more substantial subjects. Well, as the moderator, sir, I’m going to make a judgment call here.”
While Hunter Biden’s highly lucrative position on the board of the Ukrainian company Burisma has received some press, the media all but ignored the U.S. Senate committee report on “Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns.” This report not only details “examples of extensive and complex financial transactions involving the Bidens, it also describes the quandary other U.S. governmental officials faced as they attempted to guide and support Ukraine’s anticorruption efforts.”
The report’s key findings included concerns raised by “officials in Vice President Joe Biden’s office about the perception of a conflict of interest with respect to Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board,” and a senior State Department official’s warning to Vice President Biden or his staff “that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board enabled Russian disinformation efforts and risked undermining U.S. policy in Ukraine.” The report also confirmed that former Secretary of State John Kerry “had knowledge of Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board,” even though he falsely denied that knowledge during a town hall event in 2019.
The report was not limited to Hunter Biden’s role on the Burisma board and the Obama-Biden administration’s knowledge of that conflict of interest. The Senate committees also detailed Hunter’s receipt of “a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow,” and Hunter’s opening of “a bank account with Gongwen Dong to fund a $100,000 global spending spree with James Biden and Sara Biden,” as well as his “business associations with Ye Jianming, Gongwen Dong, and other Chinese nationals linked to the Communist government and the People’s Liberation Army.”
“Those associations,” the report continued, “resulted in millions of dollars in cash flow,” some of which Hunter “paid nonresident women who were nationals of Russia or other Eastern European countries and who appear to be linked to an ‘Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.’”
Then on Saturday, we learned from a letter sent by Sen. Ron Johnson, the chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to FBI Director Christopher Wray, that the report triggered “a whistleblower” to contact Johnson’s “committee and informed [his] staff that he had possession of a laptop left in his business by Hunter Biden,” clearly the same source as behind the New York Post’s story.
The letter continued: “He also informed us that he provided its contents to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in response to a December 9, 2019 grand jury subpoena.” The FBI refused to confirm any or deny any information sought by the committee, including questions unrelated to ongoing grand jury investigations. Johnson stressed the importance of the FBI responding to the committee’s inquiry: “I have a responsibility to validate and verify the contents of any information produced to my committee. The committee must know if it receives information that could be fraudulent or not accurate.”
“For example,” Johnson’s letter continued, “if any information offered to the committee was linked to a foreign adversary’s attempt to interfere in the election, I would expect the FBI to ensure the committee is protected and receives a defensive briefing.” Additionally, as Johnson noted, “knowingly providing false information to Congress is a crime.” Johnson then listed a litany of questions concerning the laptop and the FBI’s efforts to verify the authenticity of the material, asking for an answer by Oct. 22, 2020.
It seems unlikely the FBI will respond to the inquiry, or at least not publicly, but to date, several outlets are claiming they confirmed the validity of the emails and other material on the hard drive, and the personal texts and photographs and videos released leave little doubt that the hard drive truly was Hunter Biden’s.
That is the extent of the relevance of the personal information being released: The public does not need to know of the unsavory and illegal behavior Hunter engaged in—much less watch it—while he was in the throes of addiction. America also does not need to read the words of anguish exchanged between an addict son undergoing rehab and his famous father.
Yet Hunter Biden’s addiction, and the fact that tens of thousands of other Americans suffer similar demons, does not atone for the sins of the father. And that is what the email and text scandal concerns: Evidence that Joe Biden, while vice president of the United States, knowingly allowed his son to profit by selling access to Biden and others in the Obama administration, including to Communist Party of China leaders, and then lied about it.
The emails and texts Joe personally received also suggest a cut from Hunter’s influence-peddling. For instance, one email published by the New York Post detailed a deal Hunter Biden pursued with China’s largest private energy company that was “interesting for me and my family.”
A May 13, 2017 email with the subject line “Expectations” listed expected “renumeration packages” for various individuals, including “‘H,’ apparently referring to Biden.” The Post noted that “the deal also listed ‘10 Jim’ and ‘10 held by H for the big guy?’” but did not identify the “big guy.” However, sources have told Fox News “‘the big guy’ is a reference to the former vice president.”
A text recovered from the hard drive also suggests the former vice president may have received a cut of Hunter’s “earnings.” “I Hope you all cal do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family Fro 30 years,” a screenshot of a text from January 2019 to Hunter’s daughter read. “It’s really hard. But don’t worry unlike Pop I won’t make you give me half your salary.”
Evidence of this scandal is too strong to ignore or to allow Joe Biden, the Democratic Party, or corporate media to cast aside as an unseemly attack on a recovering drug addict, and not merely because of the corruption at issue. Every country, every foreign politician or political faction, and every corrupt oligarch or business that paid for access has the emails, notes, receipts, itineraries, fund transfers, and maybe even photographs or recordings. And that makes Joe Biden a national security risk.
Remember, it was Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ concern that then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was a national security risk that sent her to the White House to get him fired. The Russians would know, she maintained, that Flynn had misrepresented to Vice President Mike Pence his conversations with the Russian ambassador, and that would leave Flynn compromised. Of course, that theory was so preposterous that even disgraced former FBI Director James Comey called it a stretch.
But there is a world of difference between a conversation among a transition team member and a foreign ambassador and a conversation between individuals with foreign interests and the former vice president, bought and paid for with cash funneled through his son. A compromise of that kind holds serious national security issues, which is why our country needs a full vetting of this evidence.
If the emails and texts are fake, we need to know that. But all indications to date are that they are real, and spectacularly damning. And that has nothing to do with Hunter Biden’s addiction, and everything to do with Joe Biden’s unfitness for office.
Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Cleveland served nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk to a federal appellate judge and is a former full-time faculty member and adjunct instructor at the college of business at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.
Author: Margot Cleveland
Source: The Federalist : The Biden Corruption Scandal Isn’t About Hunter, It’s About Joe
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- Twitter Ban ‘Nearly Doubled’ The Visibility Of Hunter Biden Laptop Story
- Leftists Blast Trump Over Viral Video Showing Him Give Money At Church: ‘Cheap Bastard’
- The Biden Corruption Scandal Isn’t About Hunter, It’s About Joe
- Biden Runs From Questions About FBI, ‘Will Not Be Seen Again’ Until Debate Night
- Antonia Hernandez, The Democrats’ Soros-Connected Debate Commissioner
- China Warns It May Detain Americans Over Scholar Prosecutions
- FB ‘Content Regulation Manager’ Anna Makanju Advised Joe Biden On Ukraine
- Twitter Refuses To Unlock NY Post Account Until Outlet Deletes Hunter Biden Coverage Tweets
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