Recently declassified intelligence documents allege that Hillary Clinton "approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to [Russian president Vladimir] Putin and the Russians' hacking of the Democratic National Committee."
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe released new information on Tuesday showing that Clinton, then a challenger against Trump in the 2016 election, attempted to use the Russian hacking claims "as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private mail server."
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The documents were released following an inquiry from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) into the Obama administration’s alleged operations to target Trump. The documents contain unverified intelligence community claims that Clinton was behind the Trump smear campaign and intended to use it to discredit her opponent and distract from her own set of controversies, including her use of a homebrewed email server.
In early September 2016, "U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral to [then-] FBI director James Comey and deputy assistant director of counterintelligence Peter Strzok regarding, ‘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.’"
Former CIA director John Brennan briefed Barack Obama and his national security team on the intelligence, according to handwritten notes taken by Brennan.
This includes the "alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one of her foreign-policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services."
The documents were released ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday with former FBI director James Comey.
"This latest information provided by DNI Ratcliffe shows there may have been a double standard by the FBI regarding allegations against the Clinton campaign and Russia," Graham said in a statement. "Whether these allegations are accurate is not the question. The question is did the FBI investigate the allegations against Clinton like they did Trump? If not, why not?"