Ex-NSC Chief of Staff: Looks Like Brennan May Have Buried Evidence Putin Wanted Hillary Over Trump


You know the narrative: The Russians interfered in the 2016 election and they did so to make sure Donald Trump got elected. Nobody is going to deny that, right?

Well, not so fast. A former high-ranking intelligence official’s revelations have indicated it’s possible former CIA Director John Brennan ignored evidence that Russia actually wanted Hillary Clinton to win.

This is very different from the conclusion reached by the Senate Intelligence Committee report issued Tuesday that was seen as vindicating the CIA’s investigation into the Kremlin’s meddling in the election and the determination that it was all supposed to ensure Trump won.

Former National Security Council chief of staff Fred Fleitz thinks it’s fair to question that conclusion. In an Op-Ed for Fox News published on Wednesday, he said a 2018 House Intelligence Committee report on the intelligence surrounding Russian interference in the election should receive as much consideration as the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report.

That House report, according to Fleitz, who served in the Trump administration in 2018, found “that the intelligence community assessment’s judgments on why Russian President Vladimir Putin meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election did not employ proper analytic tradecraft.”

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So why wasn’t it treated the same as the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report? Well, unlike the mostly bipartisan tenor of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee is known for its combativeness.

The House Intelligence Committee’s report was put together when it was led by GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The ranking member on the committee at the time was another Californian who you may have heard of: Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff.

Needless to say, there wasn’t a whole lot of bipartisan goodwill when it came to the House Intelligence Committee’s report.

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Fleitz suggests that actually makes the House report more credible.

“First, I’ve carefully reviewed the unclassified House Intelligence Committee reports and spoken to committee members and professional staff about their Russia investigations. I found their work credible, aggressively researched, and soundly analyzed,” he wrote.

“The unprecedented partisanship of the present chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and his staff’s apparently authorized leaks, made a bipartisan report impossible. It is unfair to reject the House Intelligence Committee report out of hand just because it was written by Republican members.

“Second, it is more reasonable to regard any bipartisan report on this subject as suspicious. Democratic lawmakers have been fanatically united in promoting the false Trump-Russia collusion narrative. So it is impossible to believe that a Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee member would allow any references in the panel’s reports that intelligence was slanted and weaponized to undermine Trump’s presidency.”

Now, the Senate Intelligence Committee report mostly agreed with everything John Brennan said: Russia wanted Donald Trump to be president, and Trump became president.

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The committee is also helmed by a Republican, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr.

However, as Fleitz pointed out, Burr isn’t exactly the strongest Republican voice there is — which is kind of a problem when every Democrat wants the outcome to show Russian interference on the behalf of Trump.

“Burr basically has allowed Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., to run the committee,” Fleitz wrote. “Burr refused to cooperate with President Trump’s attempts to name a new director of national intelligence last summer because of Warner’s objections.”

So, why is this important? When the Senate Intelligence Committee found that the Kremlin worked to elect Trump, the media considered the book closed. That wasn’t the whole story, though.

“House Intelligence Committee staff members found the opposite. They told me there was conflicting intelligence evidence on Russian motivations for meddling in the 2016 election,” Fleitz said.

“More gravely, they said that CIA Director Brennan suppressed facts or analysis that showed why it was not in Russia’s interests to support Trump and why Putin stood to benefit from Hillary Clinton’s election. They also told me that Brennan suppressed that intelligence over the objections of CIA analysts.

“House Intelligence Committee staff told me that after an exhaustive investigation reviewing intelligence and interviewing intelligence officers, they found that Brennan suppressed high-quality intelligence suggesting that Putin actually wanted the more predictable and malleable Clinton to win the 2016 election.”

In a way, this makes sense, at least if you’re analyzing the situation from an a priori angle.

No one thought there was any chance that Trump was going to win, after all. Why would Russia invest significant resources propping up a candidate who seemed to have zero chance of winning, particularly when it would mean Hillary Clinton would take it out on them if she became president?

Furthermore, Trump was (and remains) unpredictable. If you’re Russia, unpredictable is a bad thing. You don’t look to help install a president when you have no idea what he’s going to do. Clinton, to quote Donald Rumsfeld, was a known known, whereas Trump was very much an unknown unknown.

Then again, I don’t have the intelligence to support this guess. Intelligence officials do — and, as Fleitz points out, their testimony led two intelligence committees to two starkly different conclusions. In terms of our national discussion, we’ve taken one as gospel and put the other in the cultural wastebasket.

Yet, as Fleitz points out, there’s good reason to believe the House Intelligence Committee report has some merit.

Brennan has made it clear he loathes Donald Trump with an unusual — some might say disqualifying — passion. If he suppressed information that could have made it look like Clinton was a beneficiary of Russian interference, that’s a big deal.

If Putin didn’t prefer Trump for president, a lot of theories of various levels of believability fall apart like tissue paper under a running faucet.

This is something we should pay a bit more attention to, particularly now that the Senate Intelligence Committee report is taking up a lot of the air in the room.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture