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The Daily Beast

Lindsey Graham on Spreading Potential Russian Disinformation: It Doesn’t Matter If It’s True

Former Hillary Clinton aides, ex-intelligence officials and Senate Democrats are accusing Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe of laundering Russian disinformation before an election after Ratcliffe suggested Clinton attempted to manufacture a scandal about Russian interference in the 2016 election on behalf of President Trump.On Tuesday, Ratcliffe, a loyalist whom Trump placed atop U.S. intelligence in the spring, sent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) a letter claiming that in late July 2016, U.S. intelligence acquired “insight” into a Russian intelligence analysis. That analysis, Ratcliffe summarized in his letter, claimed that Clinton had a plan to attack Trump by tying him to the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee. Trump, in late July 2016, had publicly called for Russia to purloin Clinton’s emails. And both U.S. intelligence and former special counsel Robert Mueller have since attributed that hack to Russia.None of the subsequent Trump-Russia investigations have verified the claims Ratcliffe published, although top House intelligence-committee Republican Devin Nunes of California has insisted baselessly that Clinton and not Trump colluded with Russia.Ratcliffe stated that the intelligence community “does not know the accuracy of this allegation or to the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.” Though he subsequently insisted that his letter was not itself a disinformation campaign by Russian officials, his move to send the letter, and Graham’s decision to release it, was roundly criticized.“DNI Ratcliffe should be ashamed of his blatant politicization of his position,” said Nick Shapiro, the former CIA deputy chief of staff to John Brennan, who was CIA director in 2016 and whose notes are cited in Ratcliffe’s summary.Trump’s Pick for Intelligence Chief Follows a Slew of QAnon AccountsGraham, who spoke to The Daily Beast on