Obama admin briefed on claims Hillary Clinton drummed up Russia controversy to vilify Trump, distract from emails

Gowdy on differences between Trump, Clinton investigations

Fox News contributor Trey Gowdy, former chair of the House Oversight Committee and author of the new book ‘Doesn’t Hurt to Ask,’ joins Maria Bartiromo on ‘Sunday Morning Futures.’

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) declassified information indicating that former President Obama's administration knew of Russian allegations that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was attempting to tie Trump to the Russia and distract from her email scandal before the 2016 presidential election.

DNI John Ratcliffe informed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that the prior administration obtained the Russian intelligence in July of 2016, but cautioned that the intelligence community (IC) "does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication."

Ratcliffe's letter doesn't offer specifics on the intelligence but does reveal that former CIA Director John Brennan's handwritten notes show that he briefed Obama on the information. According to his letter, the intelligence included the "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."

In a statement on the letter, Ratcliffe pushed back on the idea he was advancing "Russian disinformation." "To be clear, this is not Russian disinformation and has not been assessed as such by the Intelligence Community. I’ll be briefing Congress on the sensitive sources and methods by which it was obtained in the coming days.”

"In connection with your Committee's investigation of these matters and ongoing hearings, you have been asking us to accelerate this process and to provide any additional information relating to the reliability of the work of Christopher Steele and the so-called 'Steele dossier,' as long as its release would not compromise U.S. Attorney John Durham's ongoing criminal investigation," Barr wrote.

"A footnote in the Inspector General's report contains information, which up till now has been classified and redacted, bearing on the reliability of the Steele dossier," Barr wrote. "The FBI has declassified the relevant portion of the footnote, number 334, which states that 'the Primary Sub-source was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 that assessed his or her contacts with suspected Russian intelligence officers.'"

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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