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Dilapidated FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday said it didn’t “ring a bell” when asked whether or not he received an investigative referral on Hillary Clinton purportedly approving “a opinion” trying to tie President Donald Trump to Russia and distract from her electronic mail scandal earlier than the 2016 election.
At some level of his testimony earlier than the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Chairman Lindsey Graham asked Comey in regards to the newly declassified data launched Tuesday by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.
Per the declassified data, in September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral on Clinton purportedly approving “a opinion touching on U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections” in mumble to distract the public from her electronic mail scandal. That referral used to be despatched to Comey and Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok.
“You don’t keep in mind getting an investigatory lead from the intelligence neighborhood? Sept. 7, 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral to James Comey and Strzok regarding Clinton’s approval of a opinion [about] Trump…as a technique of distraction?” Graham asked Comey Wednesday.
“That doesn’t ring any bells with me,” Comey spoke back.
“That’s a terrific ravishing ingredient that it doesn’t ring a bell,” Graham fired abet. “You acquire this inquiry from the intelligence neighborhood to catch a examine at the Clinton campaign trying to create a distraction, accusing Trump of being a Russian agent or a Russian stooge.”
Graham wondered “how a ways-fetched is that,” citing the fact that Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, through legislation agency Perkins Coie, employed Fusion GPS and ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to creator and compile data for the controversial and unverified anti-Trump dossier.
The dossier contains claims about alleged ties between Donald Trump and Russia that served as the root for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants bought against previous vogue Trump campaign aide Carter Net page.
“A bunch of crap to be inclined against an American citizen,” Graham said. “You don’t acquire this?”
Comey spoke back: “It doesn’t sound familiar.”
Asked later, by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on the topic, Comey said: “I don’t know what the director is doing.”
Graham’s line of questioning came after Ratcliffe advised the committee Tuesday that the Obama administration bought Russian intelligence in July 2016 with allegations against Clinton, but cautioned that the intelligence neighborhood “does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the textual scream material to which the Russian intelligence prognosis can also replicate exaggeration or fabrication.”
Ratcliffe, within the letter despatched to the committee, did not offer specifics on the intelligence, but did demonstrate that previous vogue CIA Director John Brennan’s handwritten notes expose that he briefed previous vogue President Obama on the info.
Per Ratcliffe’s letter, the intelligence included the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016 of a proposal from one amongst her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security products and companies.”
Reduce Merrill, Clinton’s spokesperson, called the allegations “baseless b———t.”
“Right here is Russian disinformation,” tweeted Rachel Cohen, spokeswoman for Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Brand Warner, D-Va., adding that it used to be “laundered by the Director Of National Intelligence and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
“Right here is unheard of,” she tweeted.
But Ratcliffe, in an announcement launched after the info used to be made public, pushed abet on the root he used to be advancing “Russian disinformation.”
“To ensure, here isn’t Russian disinformation and has not been assessed as such by the Intelligence Team,” Ratcliffe said in an announcement to Fox News. “I’ll be briefing Congress on the fine sources and techniques in which it used to be bought within the impending days.”
Graham, of South Carolina, said he would overview the info, noting that Ratcliffe would invent it on hand in a classified setting.
“This latest data provided by DNI Ratcliffe presentations there can also were a double typical by the FBI regarding allegations against the Clinton campaign and Russia,” Graham said.
The new data will doubtless add to criticisms from Republicans and these end to the president in regards to the Russia investigation.
Lawyer General Barr last yr appointed U.S. Lawyer of Connecticut John Durham to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe quickly after special counsel Robert Mueller completed his years-lengthy investigation into whether or not the campaign colluded with the Russians to book the 2016 presidential election.
It is unclear whether or not this data will be idea of section of Durham’s investigation.