The question of who knew the full scope of the Russia collusion hoax has, thus far, remained unanswered. The bit players like Bruce Ohr and Peter Strzok seemed to understand their role in carrying out what Strzok called “the insurance policy”, but surely someone knew what all the disparate moving pieces were doing.
As mentioned, that question is unanswered. But there are candidates, one being former CIA Director John Brennan, who has popped back up again in the news as someone who, even if he turns out to be simply one of the moving pieces in the larger scheme to denigrate the Trump campaign with false allegations of Russia connections, may have perjured himself (again) before Congress nonetheless.
Here’s American Greatness pulling from a July 29 Maria Bartiromo interview with House Oversight member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA):
During an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo Sunday morning, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) suggested that former CIA director John Brennan lied under oath to Congress in May 2017.
In written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Brennan claimed that he had briefed each member of the so-called Gang of Eight about “Russian attempts to interfere in the election” between August 11, 2016 and September 6, 2016.
After his meeting with Brennan, Reid fired off a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding an investigation into “the questions raised” in the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier.
But Nunes told Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures” that he and former Speaker Paul Ryan were never told about the Steele Dossier, which contained allegations about Russian interference and contacts with the Trump campaign.
“The CIA has mostly come clean about its activities during the 2016 election,” Nunes said. “The only one who has questions to answer is John Brennan,” he added. “We now know that John Brennan briefed Harry Reid on the dossier in August of 2016,” Nunes said. “At the same time, he never briefed me or Paul Ryan, who was the Speaker of the House at the time.”
That letter to Comey is, of course, one of the more compelling parts of all this. It was a useful bit of paper trail that would appear to justify an investigation into the Trump campaign and maybe even retroactively justify the (we know now) possibly illegally obtained FISA warrants themselves.
And, if you read the American Greatness piece all the way through, the question is less a timeline question of when Reid and the Gang of Eight were briefed and more a question of what Brennan told Reid. Specifically, if it was different from what he says he told other members of the Gang of Eight.
Here’s what Brennan told Congress:
“Again, in consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership,” Brennan wrote. “I provided the same briefing to each Gang of Eight member. Given the highly sensitive nature of what was in what was an active counterintelligence case, involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.”
Why was Harry getting different information and did Brennan lie about it? Nunes seems to be saying he thinks that just might be the case.
Of course, As Victor David Hanson has pointed out, Brennan lying to Congress has become almost par for the course:
In 2011, Brennan, then the country’s chief counterterrorism adviser, had sworn to Congress that scores of drones strikes abroad had not killed a single noncombatant — at a time when both the president and the CIA were both receiving numerous reports of civilian collateral deaths.
In 2014, John Brennan, now as CIA director, lied emphatically that the CIA had not illegally accessed the computers of U.S. Senate staffers who were then exploring a CIA role in torturing detainees. Or as he told Andrea Mitchell: “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. . . . We wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the, you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we do.” Brennan’s chronic deceptions drew the ire of a number of liberal senators, some of whom echoed the Washington Post’s call for his immediate resignation. After months of prevarications, but only upon release of the CIA inspector general’s report, Brennan apologized to the senators he had deceived.
Brennan, in May 2017, as an ex-CIA director, again almost certainly did not tell the truth to Congress when he testified in answer to Representative Trey Gowdy’s questions that he neither knew who had commissioned the Steele dossier nor had the CIA relied on its contents for any action. Yet both the retired National Security Agency director, Michael Rogers, and the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, have conceded that the Steele dossier — along with the knowledge that it was a Clinton-campaign-funded product — most certainly did help shape the Obama’s intelligence communality interagency assessments and actions, often under the urging of Brennan himself.
There are also numerous reports that, despite his denials about knowledge of the dossier, Brennan served as a stealthy conduit to ensure that it was disseminated widely, at least in the sense of meeting in August 2016 with Senator Harry Reid to brief the senator about its unverified contents in hopes that he would pressure the FBI to further its investigations, which Reid did in a call two days later to James Comey.
The blame game continues but at some point the finger will land somewhere and on someone as the puller of puppet strings. As Brennan’s role comes more into focus, he’s becoming much easier to find behind the curtain.