Michael Morell was one of the first people in summer 2016 to suggest Trump was an unwitting Russian agent.
Just a week after then-CIA Director John Brennan warned President Barack Obama that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was “stirring up” a Russia scandal to harm Donald Trump, the agency’s former acting chief became one of the first high-profile intelligence community figures to claim that the 2016 Republican nominee was a possible agent of Vladimir Putin.
In an Aug. 5, 2016 op-ed in the New York Times, Michael Morell cited his CIA experience to make the Trump allegation and he also endorsed Clinton for president. “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” Morell wrote.
The Clinton campaign was synced with the revelation, immediately putting out an attack ad the same day sounding similar themes that Trump was “unfit” to be president and then following with a letter from 50 experts claiming it.
Even months later, Morell’s strike was still being peddled by Democrats like longtime Clinton-Obama strategist Jennifer Palmieri — she called it “jaw dropping” — to further a Russian collusion narrative that ultimately would be rejected by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and multiple congressional probes.
Morell’s early effort to push the Trump Russia agent theory is now getting fresh scrutiny after revelations reported by Just the News last week that he organized an open letter in October 2020 falsely portraying the Hunter Biden laptop as suspected Russian disinformation after receiving a call from longtime Joe Biden adviser and current Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
The then-director of national intelligence contemporaneously denied the laptop was Russian disinformation, and the FBI has since authenticated the laptop.
Around the time the Morell-pushed letter surfaced in fall 2020, former FBI intelligence chief Kevin Brock wrote a powerful column in The Hill newspaper alleging the spies were trying to influence the election. Not Russian, or Chinese, or Iranian — but true-blue American spies. He called the letter a clear effort by U.S. intel professionals to sway the election with their credentials even though there weren’t facts to back it up.
By John Solomon and Nick Givas