- The Washington Times - Monday, February 14, 2022

U.S. intelligence provided to special counsel John Durham described a Democratic political conspiracy to subvert Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and administration by falsely linking the ex-president to the Russian government, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Monday.

Mr. Durham, in an explosive court filing in Washington made as part of his probe into U.S. government wrongdoing related to an FBI inquiry of Russia collusion, said government evidence shows that Michael Sussmann, a lawyer linked to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, worked with a tech company to hack Mr. Trump’s office and residence in New York and “the executive office of the president” after Mr. Trump was sworn into office in 2017. 

Mr. Ratcliffe told Fox News Channel he met several times with Mr. Durham when he was DNI and provided intelligence information. 

Additional information on what Mr. Ratcliffe characterized as a “conspiracy” by Democrats to subvert Mr. Trump before and after he became president is also in classified information that has not been made public. 

“I think this pleading alleges or alludes to a conspiracy, meaning two or more people in furtherance of a crime, and anyone that was aware that this [Democratic] campaign plan was going to be falsely pitched to the FBI or the CIA or law enforcement or intelligence authorities would be subject to criminal prosecution for any number of criminal crimes,” Mr. Ratcliffe said. 

Possible crimes related to the data theft include mail fraud, wire fraud and lying under oath, he said.

SEE ALSO: White House adviser Sullivan gets fresh scrutiny for role in false Trump-Russia collusion claims

The former DNI said he believes additional criminal indictments may result “based on intelligence that I have seen and that I discussed with John Durham.”

Mr. Sussmann was indicted in September for making false statements to the FBI as part of the Durham inquiry, specifically, hiding his connection to the Democratic Party in providing information to the FBI and CIA. Mr. Sussmann has denied the charges.

The Sussmann indictment is one of three indictments in the Durham probe. Think tank analyst Igor Danchenko was indicted for lying to the FBI, and former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith has pleaded guilty for falsifying federal documents.

“The people that have been indicted, that does relate to the intelligence I shared with John Durham,” Mr. Ratcliffe said.

The information from the Democratic operatives helped trigger a major counterintelligence investigation of Mr. Trump and his associates that a separate investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded did not uncover evidence of collusion by the campaign with Russia.

The indictment alleges that Mr. Sussmann, as a lawyer for the Democratic National Committee, provided the FBI with data files and reports alleging a covert communications link between the Trump organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian bank owned by oligarchs.

SEE ALSO: Most Democrats say Hillary Clinton should be investigated for role in Russia collusion scandal

The latest court filing states that Technology Executive-1, who has been identified in press reports as internet data specialist Rodney Joffe, accessed internet traffic in the executive office of the president “for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump,” the indictment of Mr. Sussmann states. 

Lawyers for Mr. Sussmann did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. 

Mr. Joffe could not be reached for comment. 

The filing says Mr. Joffe exploited access to White House servers to gain access to domain name system internet traffic. 

Mr. Ratcliffe, the former DNI, said intelligence information he gave to Mr. Durham is a major part of the special counsel probe. 

“I’ve been saying there’d be indictments before there were any, and the folks that have been indicted, that does relate to intelligence that I shared with John Durham,” Mr. Ratcliffe said. “And based on more intelligence that has not yet been declassified, I would expect there to be frankly, quite a few more indictments.” 

Mr. Ratcliffe, a former Texas Republican congressman who was one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress, added: “I think this conspiracy — and I do think there was a criminal conspiracy — is broad and deep.” 

Mr. Sussmann “pitched” the information obtained from Neustar, Mr. Joffe’s company, to the FBI in a bid to trigger a federal investigation based on allegations “that simply weren’t true,” Mr. Ratcliffe said. The incident occurred in September 2016 when Mr. Sussmann presented his findings to FBI General Counsel James Baker and told him he did not have a client for the information, when in fact his client was the Clinton campaign. 

Mr. Ratcliffe said he would not disclose the names of others linked to the operation. 

However, he said former CIA Director John Brennan, was in contact with Clinton campaign advisers and consultants linked to the plot. 

Prior to Mr. Trump taking office, Mr. Brennan briefed then-President Obama, then-Vice President Biden and other national security officials on intelligence information revealing a Democratic operation that is now part of Mr. Durham’s investigation. 

The briefing outlined “a Hillary Clinton plan to falsely accuse and vilify Donald Trump with a scandal,” Mr. Ratcliffe said. 

Mr. Ratcliffe said that based on the intelligence, he, Mr. Durham and then-Attorney General Bill Barr “did not believe there was a proper predicate” to open a criminal probe into the Trump campaign. “And yet that happened.”

• Bill Gertz can be reached at bgertz@washingtontimes.com.

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