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VERIFY: Proof of 'Russia hoax' not shown in letter by director of national intelligence

The release of the letter from National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe has been criticized as a politicized move ahead of the November election.

Editor's note: The related video above was published July 29.

A report the Senate Judiciary Committee made public has been shared as evidence that the Russia investigation was indeed a hoax and a plan by Hillary Clinton. 

The report released on Tuesday regarding the Russia investigation was from the director of national intelligence, former Republican congressman John Ratcliffe. Its release has been criticized as a politicized move ahead of the election next month.

President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was one of the people to make such a claim that it shows the probe came from a plan Clinton devised.

But that’s not exactly what the report says.

THE QUESTION

Did the director of national intelligence confirm that the allegations surrounding the Trump campaign’s connection to Russia were a hoax planned by Clinton’s 2016 campaign?

THE ANSWER

No, the report clearly says that the accuracy of the allegations is unknown.

WHAT WE FOUND

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham released the letter this week from Ratcliffe regarding information about the FBI’s handling of intelligence over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

The letter said that in July 2016, U.S. agencies obtained information from Russian intelligence that alleged “U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians' hacking of the Democratic National Committee."

But that doesn’t mean the intelligence community verified the allegation. The very next sentence said, “The [intelligence community] does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”

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That means the intelligence community didn’t and still doesn’t know if this allegation, which stemmed from Russian intelligence, is accurate. 

Graham did not claim that the report was accurate when he released the letter. He said, “Whether these allegations are accurate is not the question. The question is did the FBI investigate the allegations against Clinton like they did Trump?”

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report in August on Russian interference in the 2016 election. That report outlines findings regarding real Russian meddling in the election process. Various sections of the report are redacted and the public information on the report does not mention the Russian intelligence analysis noted in Ratcliffe’s letter.

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