By Joe Hoft
Obama knew of the bogus plan to tie candidate Trump to Russia in late July 2016. At the same time Obama kicked off secret meetings that were held in the basement of the White House.
As noted earlier today, DNI John Ratcliffe declassified documents revealing former CIA Director John Brennan briefed Barack Obama on Hillary Clinton’s plot to ‘stir up’ a scandal to tie Trump to Russia in order to distract from her email scandal ahead of the 2016 election.
“In late July 2016, US intelligence agencies obtained insight into Russian intelligence analysis alleging that US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against US Presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the DNC. The IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation of the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggerations or fabrication,” Ratcliffe wrote to Lindsey Graham.
Brennan’s handwritten notes were exclusively obtained by Fox News:
“We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED],” Brennan notes read. “CITE [summarizing] alleged approved by Hillary Clinton a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service,” Brennan’s notes read.
The notes state “on 28 of July.” In the margin, Brennan writes “POTUS,” but the entire section of the note is redacted.
“Any evidence of collaboration between Trump campaign + Russia,” Brennan’s notes read.
The notes are heavily redacted, except in the margins, which reads: “JC,” “Denis,” and “Susan.”
We knew from an article in the summer of 2018, written by Deep State journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn, posted at Yahoo News, that July 2016 the exact same time that Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, started taking notice of Russia and Trump campaign members:
At the end of July — not long after WikiLeaks had dumped over 20,000 stolen DNC emails before the Democratic convention — it had become obvious to Brennan that the Russians were mounting an aggressive and wide‑ranging effort to interfere in the election. He was also seeing intelligence about contacts and interactions between Russian officials and Americans involved in the Trump campaign. By now, several European intelligence services had reported to the CIA that Russian operatives were reaching out to people within Trump’s circle. And the Australian government had reported to U.S. officials that its top diplomat in the United Kingdom had months earlier been privately told by Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. By July 31, the FBI had formally opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump’s campaigns ties to Russians, with sub-inquiries targeting four individuals: Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman; Michael Flynn, the former Defense Intelligence Agency chief who had led the crowd at the Republican convention in chants of “Lock her up!”; Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser who had just given a speech in Moscow; and Papadopoulos.
Yahoo News released this report in March 2018 thinking that President Trump would soon be removed from office. What they also reported was that Obama started holding secret meetings in the basement of the White House at this time:
While Brennan wrangled the intelligence agencies into a turf-crossing operation that could feed the White House information on the Russian maneuver, Obama convened a series of meetings to devise a plan for countering whatever the Russians were up to. The meetings followed the procedure known in the federal government as the “interagency process.” The protocol was for the deputy chiefs of the relevant government agencies to meet and hammer out options for the principals — that is, the heads of the agencies — and then the principals hold a separate (and sometimes parallel) chain of meetings to discuss and perhaps debate before presenting choices to the president.
But for this topic, the protocol was not observed. Usually when the White House invited the deputies and principals to such meetings, they informed them of the subject at hand and provided “readahead” memos outlining what was on the agenda. This time, the agency officials just received instructions to show up at the White House at a certain time. No reason given. No memos supplied. “We were only told that a meeting was scheduled, and our principal or deputy was expected to attend,” recalled a senior administration official who participated in the sessions. (At the State Department, only a small number of officials were cleared to receive the most sensitive information on the Russian hack; this group included Secretary of State John Kerry; Tony Blinken, the deputy secretary of state; Dan Smith, head of the department’s intelligence bureau; and Jon Finer, Kerry’s chief of staff.)
For the usual interagency sessions, principals and deputies could bring staffers. Not this time. “There were no plus ones,” an attendee recalled. When the subject of a principals or deputies meeting was a national security matter, the gathering was often held in the Situation Room of the White House. The in‑house video feed of the Sit Room — without audio — would be available to national security officials at the White House and elsewhere, and these officials could at least see that a meeting was in progress and who was attending. For the meetings related to the Russian hack, Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, ordered the video feed turned off. She did not want others in the national security establishment to know what was under way, fearing leaks from within the bureaucracy.