OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said during a Sunday Fox News interview that he provided special counsel John Durham with a trove of about 1,000 documents that support additional charges pertaining to his criminal probe on the origins of the so-called “Russiagate” investigation.
During the interview with “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo, Ratcliffe teased that the recent grand jury indictment of Michael Sussmann, a cyber security attorney who stands accused of lying to the FBI, is just the beginning in terms of overall alleged criminality, based on documents he provided a year ago.
“Michael Sussmann’s is the first of what I would hope would be a number, based on the fact — I provided not just those declassified documents, but I provided 1,000 intelligence community documents that I think support additional charges that I would expect John Durham to bring,” he said.
In a statement released in October 2020, Ratcliffe, a former U.S. representative from Texas, announced that he had turned over the materials to Durham, who had not yet been named a special counsel by then-Attorney General William Barr but had been assigned to investigate the origins of the Russia probe begun during the Obama administration.
“At my direction, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has now provided almost 1,000 pages of materials to the Department of Justice in response to Mr. Durham’s document requests,” Ratcliffe said.
“I will continue to ensure the Intelligence Community’s responsiveness to the DOJ’s requests. We also look forward to supporting the DOJ in further declassifications consistent with their investigation. As the President has made clear, we must be appropriately transparent with the American people and give them the confidence that the extraordinary work of Intelligence professionals is never misused or politicized,” he continued.
The Washington Examiner noted further:
Ratcliffe, who has served as Trump’s spy chief overseeing the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies since May, first shared the statement with Axios in a report that cited “a source with direct knowledge of the materials” who claimed that Ratcliffe “has approved the release” to DOJ investigators “a large binder full of documents” to assist Durham’s investigation into the conduct of law enforcement and intelligence officials involved in examining ties between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. The report also said Ratcliffe “has been working on this batch of documents for a number of weeks.” The move by Ratcliffe follows repeated calls by Trump for more information to be declassified and made public.
At the time, “Ratcliffe also declassified two heavily redacted Russia-related documents, including handwritten notes from former CIA Director John Brennan showing he briefed then-President Barack Obama in 2016 on an unverified Russian intelligence report,” the Examiner reported separately.
“The report claimed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned in July 2016 on tying then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee to distract from her improper use of a private email server.”
Durham, so far, has only managed to secure one guilty plea, from former FBI lawyer Kevin Klinesmith, for lying to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court after changing a document filed to get a warrant to spy on then-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
A former attorney at Perkins Coie, which represented the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, Sussmann has pleaded not guilty to one charge of “falsely telling the top FBI lawyer he was not representing any clients when acting on behalf of a technology executive and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign during a September 2016 meeting on possible links between Trump and Russia,” the Examiner reported.
“We said there was FISA abuse. And Kevin Clinesmith was indicted on lying to the FISA court to spy on the Trump campaign. And then, on your show, we talked about this very fact, that the Hillary Clinton campaign created the Trump-Russia collusion. And the intelligence community and the FBI knew that,” Ratcliffe told Bartiromo on Sunday.
“And they briefed not just President Obama, but Vice President Biden and the entire national security team. I expected and said there would be indictments forthcoming.”