FBI was 'reluctant' to buy into Russian conspiracy theory?
The FBI had concerns with the intelligence community’s (IC) January 2017 assessment that the Kremlin interfered in the presidential election with the specific intent of electing President Trump over Hillary Clinton.All the actors appear confused and trying to rationalize events without much success. While some clearly wanted to tie Trump to the Russian effort they do not have any evidence to support that idea and none has been developed since. If Russia's goal was to confuse the intel agencies and the FBI and DOJ, it looks like a screaming success.
In newly obtained emails, bureau officials noted there was not enough intelligence to support the January 2017 findings by the CIA which concluded Vladimir Putin meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump, according to a numerous documents and text messages obtained by SaraACarter.com.
However, while Strzok, Comey and others were disputing the findings of former CIA Director John Brennan and former DNI Director James Clapper behind closed doors, the public perception was that the FBI agreed with the intelligence community’s assessment, as noted in news reports in late 2016 and early 2017.
Strzok, however, was a double-edged sword. Although he believed there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove Russia wanted Trump in office, text messages suggest he was still intent on proving that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. And while Comey also disagreed with the conclusion of the intelligence assessment, he– like Strzok–believed the unverified dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, should have been part of the Intelligence Community Assessment titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.” There is no dispute that the Kremlin meddled in the elections, but the suggestion that it did so to aid Trump set off a wave of controversy for the past several years.
Then, the FBI waged a full investigation against the Trump campaign over an unverified dossier that alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but it was also assessing Russia’s intent on meddling in the election.
In December 2016 Strzok appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, along with some lawmakers, and expressed concern about the CIA assessment. Shortly after, on Dec. 10, 2016, the FBI received an email inquiry from a reporter asking if it was true that the FBI was uncertain about the CIA’s assessment that Russia was trying to help Trump win the election.
Strzok sent an email to the FBI press office stating, “We did not have information to differentiate what their ultimate goal was.” He noted that Comey gave the Senate Intelligence Committee the same answer.
“In other words, the activity is one-sided and clear but we can’t say the sole and primary purpose was specifically intended to help someone, hurt someone else or undermine the process. The reality is all three,” he said in the email.
When the declassified version of the IC Russia report was made public Jan. 6, 2017, the FBI had already addressed members of Congress, but it wouldn’t be until these emails and texts that the public would know the extent of the concerns.