There will be questions not only about whether documents that the FBI seized in its Aug. 8 raid of former President Donald Trump's Florida home were privileged attorney-client details but also about whether some of them should have been tagged with top security clearance at all, former White House Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Sunday.
"The FBI took 11,000 documents from Donald Trump's home, and they claim that there are reports of hundreds of documents that have classified markings," Ratcliffe said on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures," telling show host Maria Bartiromo that while he was in office, he'd seen several documents himself that had questionable classification levels.
"I saw hundreds, if not thousands, of documents related to Christopher Steele, things like the Alpha Bank connections … there is a question if they are marked top-secret whether they are top-secret," said Ratcliffe. "All of these things were no more top-secret than your children's creative writing assignments for their homework."
Brooklyn Senior Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master named to oversee the review of the documents, will lead a process that must determine if there was any national security information of any value in what was being stored in Florida, he added, "but "I can tell you that many of those Russia-gate documents were not top-secret, although they were marked that way."
Radcliffe said that one of the documents he'd declassified on his way out the door related to Igor Danchenko, the Russian national who will go on trial next month under the charges brought by special counsel John Durham, who is investigating the origins of the investigation into Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign.
"He is facing trial next month because he lied repeatedly to the FBI," said Ratcliffe. "In January 2017 he admitted to the FBI that much of what was in the Steele reporting was in conversation over beers with friends at a bar or word-of-mouth hearsay.
"He didn't know whether any of the information in the Steele dossier was accurate and it was put together at the request of Hillary Clinton and her campaign."
Ratcliffe said the document he declassified was an annex to an assessment that then-FBI Director James Comey insisted on including and reporting to the American people that all the information in the Steele dossier should be included in the investigation when they knew from their conversations with Danchenko that it was all false.
"This is an example of one of many documents that were initially marked as top-secret, but were all a bunch of garbage," he said.
Meanwhile, the FBI paid Danchenko as an informant up until the 2020 election, said Ratcliffe.
"At the time that John Durham with the Department of Justice is investigating and getting ready to bring charges against him for lying, the FBI was paying him," he said.
And now, the American people have lost faith in the FBI, and even agents are coming forward as whistleblowers to contend the agency is too political, said Ratcliffe.
"The FBI thinks the FBI has become politicized," he said. "Poll after poll this summer shows less than half of Americans have faith and trust in the FBI. There are real problems."
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