Former acting CIA director Michael Morell was recently asked under oath about the origins of the intel letter discrediting the Hunter Biden laptop story as possible Russian disinformation.
He testified under oath that a call from now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken “triggered” the creation of the letter, which was signed by 51 current and former members of the intelligence community.
When questioned further, he said, “one intent was to share our concern with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue; and two, it was [to] help Vice President Biden.”
“I wanted [Biden] to win the election,” he testified, according to a letter sent to Blinken by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan and Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner.
This isn’t the first time this ex-CIA boss has stirred up hot-button issues in the lead-up to a presidential election, according to John Solomon and Nick Givas’s reporting in Just the News. In 2012, he edited official talking points about the deadly 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack to remove references to al-Qaeda. And in the summer of 2016, he was one of the first major figures to publicly claim Trump was a Russian asset in a New York Times op-ed.
In this episode of Kash’s Corner, we also take a look at Sen. Chuck Grassley’s recent allegations that the FBI falsely labeled information as Russian disinformation “to bury it”—and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s seeking to prevent Trump from speaking about the evidence in his case.
Kash Patel: Hey everybody and welcome back to Kash’s Corner. Jan, what are we going to talk about this week?
Jan Jekielek: My goodness, do we ever have a lot to talk about this week? The big thing I want to talk about is Michael Morell and his recent disclosures under oath, and I have many questions for you about this. This is a big thing. We have to talk about Tucker Carlson leaving Fox. We’ll also talk about Senator Grassley saying the FBI has been using this moniker of Russian disinformation to shield the Biden family. He hasn’t provided any evidence yet, but he seems to have made good on everything else he said up to now. Finally, the Manhattan DA Bragg basically is saying that he wants to restrict some of the evidence from Trump’s side of the lawsuit. We got a lot.
Mr. Patel: We got a bunch, and for a lot of it, it seems all roads would lead back to Russiagate, but we’ll get there.
Mr. Jekielek: It does seem that way, doesn’t it? Let’s look at Tucker Carlson. This is something everybody’s been buzzing about for a few days now. You have an interesting theory. Tell me about that.
Mr. Patel: Look, I’m not on the inside. I don’t have any inside narrative or take, but I’ll just give you my thoughts on it. These are facts, whether they’re coincidence or not, we’ll leave for the audience. But the fact remains that Paul Ryan is on the board of Fox News Corp. and one of the largest voices at Fox News Corp.
The CEO is Rupert Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch. It’s no surprise that those two individuals who are in charge of Fox News have a heavy dislike of President Trump. I’m not saying that for them. They’ve said that publicly.
Take that fact and couple it with the coverage that you’ve seen Fox News undertake in the last year, which has been, in my opinion, a pivot away from all things President Trump. A guy like myself was on the Fox primetime shows on a near weekly basis, and has not been on a single Fox primetime show in nine months.
Yes, these could all be little coincidences along the way, but you can start adding those facts together, and you can then add on the removal of Tucker Carlson and the departure of Dan Bongino, two of the largest voices. You can call them pro-Trump or not, but there’s probably a better way to characterize them.
Maybe you can just look at their audiences who are very favorable of President Trump and his reelection status, and want to hear news that reflects that audience base. Tucker’s show was the largest news show in network news. Why would a news company who’s in news to make money rid itself of its number one money-making show?
There has been for some time at Fox News Corp, a pivot away from, again, however you want to use the verbiage, Donald Trump, MAGA, America First, to become a more, in their eyes, neutral media network. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. I’m just saying that when you add up these facts, and maybe they are all a string of coincidences, but in my opinion, I think they have done it as a tactic from the top, the board, the CEO, and others to make these maneuvers.
There’s also, it’s not a secret, it’s public now, that a female employee or former employee of Fox is suing both Fox News Corp and Tucker independently to abuse and harassment. Fox, of course, has known about this lawsuit for a long time. In government, we say there’s no such thing as a coincidence. In the private sector, there may be, and I’m not an expert on this. But I just take my time and say a lot of these facts add up to a departure at Fox that points in one direction, and that is the pivot that they wanted to make as a news organization in how they cover news going forward.
Mr. Jekielek: One thing just comes to mind. On American Thought Leaders, we recently published an interview with your friend and former boss, Chris Miller, who pointed out that Trump has this neo-isolationist approach to foreign policy. That’s definitely something that Tucker Carlson shares. I’ve heard different takes on how pro-Trump Tucker Carlson was. I haven’t watched the show enough to know that.
Mr. Patel: Yes, and I don’t know Tucker well enough to say what his vision is on Trump specifically. I was more speaking to his audience, the 3.5 million average viewers he gets per night. It’s a fair analysis to say many, if not the overwhelming majority, of that audience is very pro-Trump.
Mr. Jekielek: What are the bigger implications of it being the number one show or the number two show? There’s some discussion around that. One of the biggest shows on television right now is leaving the organization. What is it, like a billion-dollar loss as a result in terms of stock value? That is somewhat of a reflection of his value. What does this say about what’s happening?
Mr. Patel: I don’t entirely know. I’m not a media mogul, but it shows you that there’s an intentional pivot. What that pivot fully looks like when the rotation is done, I’m not really sure. There’s going to be more moves made over there. Ultimately, at the end of the day, they’re a media company in the middle of what’s going to be the most consequential election of modern history, the most covered, the most watched, and they are going to have to be all in on its coverage. Maybe that pivot will reverse course sometime down the road. You’ve seen enough decision making over there to tell you which direction it’s going for now.
Mr. Jekielek: Let’s jump to Michael Morell.
Mr. Patel: Michael Morell, who is he? Most of our audience probably doesn’t know him, nor should they. He’s an almost 30-year intelligence officer in the intelligence community in the United States government. During the Obama administration, he rose to the highest ranks of the CIA as acting CIA director, the man in charge of the Central Intelligence Agency. Prior to that, he was the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
He had risen to two of the most prominent seats in the entire intelligence community. What’s interesting, and I don’t believe they are coincidences, is the three data points that we’re going to talk about here specifically involve Michael Morell and elections in the United States of America.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s amazing that we can go all the way back to Benghazi. This is a topic that just keeps rearing its head, and it’s never fully settled.
Mr. Patel: Yes, as the deputy director of the CIA, Michael Morell specifically changed the intelligence presentation about the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, and removed the verbiage that said Al-Qaeda had ties to it, which was the actual intelligence. That’s what was happening. You remember the whole Susan Rice debacle where she went on the world stage and gave a news conference that was largely false, and she’s been attacked for it ever since. The question is, and it was posed to Michael Morell back then 7, 8, 9, years ago, “Why did you change key points of data of intelligence as the deputy director of the CIA, knowing it was going to the White House to be utilized to brief the world essentially on what happened when an U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi, one of the most horrific attacks in modern U.S. history on Americans?”
Some of our audience might ask, “Why would he do that? Why would he take out Al-Qaeda and any references to them?” Because as you recall, Jan, but maybe some of our audience doesn’t, originally the Benghazi attacks were not styled as a terrorist attack, as it was first reported. That’s what the Obama administration wanted out there, that it was not a terrorist attack.
Yet the Obama intelligence community had absolute intelligence at the time of the reporting to show it was an Al-Qaeda-related terrorist attack. Of course, now it’s been investigated and prosecuted to show just that. Why would he do that is a great question, but unfortunately, one that can only be answered in terms of politics. He wanted to fit a political narrative that the people in charge of the U.S. government wanted out there. He did it, and he shouldn’t have done it.
Mr. Jekielek: What’s really fascinating is that you can potentially trace some of the politicization of the CIA to that time.
Mr. Patel: Yes. It was a very consequential piece of information that would be utilized in an election. Benghazi was a significant part of that election cycle way back in 2012. We’ll call that Exhibit A.
Mr. Jekielek: Let’s jump to the 2016 election. At that time, he’s writing op-eds.
Mr. Patel: Exhibit B. At this time, Michael Morell, to the best of my recollection, is retired from the U.S. government and is writing op-eds, appearing on news shows as a lot of former senior intelligence officials do, talking about intel, defense and national security. Interestingly enough, he has something to say about Donald Trump and whether or not he’s a Russian asset.
Just hit pause on that for a second. At this point in time, it’s summer of 2016-ish if I have my dates right, nobody had actually labeled President Trump a Putin asset. To do so is a significant step. It’s to say in U.S. intel-speak that a foreign premier of Russia had recruited an American citizen running to be president of the United States, and he was on the Russian payroll to be an intelligence asset against America. That’s what it means.
It sounds crazy. The former deputy director and acting CIA director, Michael Morell, at that time in the summer of 2016, was the first one to prominently posit that into the mainstream media cycle before a presidential election. He literally wrote that in his experience, it was likely that Donald Trump was Putin’s asset.
Then what happens? We’ve seen this narrative before, Jan. The mainstream media comes in and laps it up, and barrages the public with the false headline that Donald Trump was somehow a Russian asset. You have a second interference based on false information by a former high level intelligence officer to meddle in a presidential election, and it just happens to be the same Michael Morell. That’s exhibit B.
Mr. Jekielek: Exhibit C was John Solomon’s bombshell reporting a few days ago that Morell was basically a key person in the creation of this letter that discredited the Hunter Biden laptop, when the New York Post had published its findings.
Mr. Patel: Yes, it is exhibit C. It’s interesting, Jan. If you look at exhibit A, B, and C, we have interference and meddling all the way to election rigging. In my opinion, they’re essentially the same. It’s a distinction without a difference. I don’t think it was ever an escalation on his part. In his mind, he was doing the exact same thing. He wanted to directly influence the consequences of an election based on false information he put out there utilizing former titles to sound credible in the matter.
John Solomon’s great reporting is based on Chairman Jordan’s work over in the House of Representatives. He was the one who has been leading the charge on the intel letter from the 51 intelligence officers, including a former CIA director, a former Secretary of Defense, a former NSA director, and other senior intelligence officials. Michael Morell, signed the letter five days after, and this is the timeline that a lot of people forget.
The New York Post put out the story that Hunter Biden’s laptop was being utilized to show crimes that Hunter Biden and the family had committed either with Russia, Ukraine or other adversaries. Five days later, this letter authored by Michael Morell and 50 other individuals came out and said that it had the hallmarks of Russian disinformation. It was very craftily done, because immediately the mainstream media, specifically Politico, jumped on it and said what those 51 authors wanted—that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation.
We’ve heard it a million and one times ever since that day. That was the objective. Make no mistake about it, because these people in intel space know exactly what they’re using and what words they’re using and why, and they know what the mainstream media’s going to do once they have a letter that’s out there.
With Michael Morell, you have to ask what was his involvement in this letter? That’s what Jim Jordan was getting to the bottom of. He found out that Michael Morell had been contacted by then Biden campaign advisor, Tony Blinken, who is now the Secretary of State for Joe Biden. Michael Morell came in and testified under oath to the House Judiciary Committee that Jim Jordan was chairing. Michael Morell was specifically asked by either a member of Congress or staffer under oath, “What triggered you to do the 51 intel letter,” as we call it. He said, “Tony Blinken.”
Now, we have learned that Tony Blinken and Michael Morell were communicating at the time of the campaign. Tony Blinken basically gave him one of these wonderful Washington handshakes as you call them, to say, “Hey, I’m not asking you to do this, but it’d be good if we had a narrative out there to run against the New York Post reporting.”
Of course, Tony Blinken is going to go out there and say, “I never asked him to do this.” But it’s curious, Jan, that you have the former acting Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Morell saying under oath it was Tony Blinken who triggered him to author the letter with 51 intelligence officials and to get it out with such speed and alacrity.
I have a whole host of other questions, but staying on Michael Morell, why did this guy do it? Not once, not twice, but three times? Jim Jordan asked him, or his staff asked him under oath specifically, “Why did you, Michael Morell, the former acting CIA director, write this letter knowing it to be false?” That was another admission. He knew it was not Russian disinformation. He said simply because he wanted Joe Biden to win. That is the very definition of election rigging.
When we talked about it on this show and this great network and so many other media outlets, we were called conspiracy theorists. We were called the liars. We were called the libelous, defamatory authors. It turns out we were always reporting the truth. Michael Morell has now been exposed.
There’s a separate question we can get to as to why would he all of a sudden just come out and do that? But before we get there, I have to hammer this home for our audience. What if a prior central intelligence agency director had come out and authored a false narrative against Joe Biden prior to a presidential election? What would the world say about that? The exact same thing we’re saying about Michael Morell.
Mr. Jekielek: In these hearings, we hear a lot of people say, “Well, I don’t recall.” We hear that a lot, and you don’t really know whether they recall or not, but pretty often you think they might actually recall. But in this case, he just said it outright. Why is he doing this now?
Mr. Patel: It’s an interesting question, Jan. I just want to give our audience two data points. Remember when James Comey, one of the smartest men supposedly that had ever served in the U.S. government, came to testify for Congress and said 173 times under oath that he didn’t remember. I don’t believe that for a second. Neither does the rest of America. Remember when Anthony Fauci came before Congress and testified under oath? It was like north of 200 times that he said, “I don’t remember,” or “I don’t recall.”
That’s governmentspeak. You are obfuscating the truth and failing to execute your duties as a former or current government official. Why did Michael Morell just do that? It’s an interesting investigatory outlook. From my perspective, having been a former federal prosecutor, the guy that ran Russiagate and a public defender, I’ve interrogated thousands of people under oath.
What you do before you sit that person in the chair and make them swear in is you collect all the documents you can and all the other investigatory materials surrounding that individual so you know the answer to the question before you even ask it. I don’t have an inside track on this one, but what I think happened was the committee probably obtained material, whether there were emails or memorandums from Michael Morell himself where he was communicating with Tony Blinken or others in the media or the people that signed that letter and basically said, “I know this is BS, but we just need to do this. I’ve been asked by the Biden campaign to do so.”
They had either collected that information, or had pieced it together. There was a document that said that, or there were other witnesses involved in the creation of that 51 intel letter that said, “Yes, that’s what happened.”
When you do an investigation thoroughly, it’s no longer, “I don’t know or I can’t recall,” because it then becomes, “Here’s your letter, here is your email, here’s your memo. Here’s the 15 people that said you were in the room with them and that you said X, Y, and Z.” Are they all lying or are you? Michael Morell, like other government officials, isn’t dumb. He does not want to go into Congress and lie under oath and commit a federal felony.
What they astutely did was put him in a position to give the truthful answer, which is what you want government officials and former officials doing, not obfuscating it like Comey and Fauci. In this instance, they were able to pin him down, as we say, and elicit the actual response. In my opinion, had he said otherwise, they could have impeached him or just hit him with the truth in another form, whether it’s documentary evidence or testimonial evidence from other people. It would have created more problems for him.
The other thing is people are starting to realize more and more that it could be for political reasons. The reason Michael Morell was talking to one of Joe Biden’s most senior campaign managers in Tony Blinken at the time was probably because he wanted a job in the Biden administration. Remember, this is a guy that said he wanted Hillary Clinton to win. This is the guy that said he wanted Donald Trump to lose. This is the guy that said he wanted Joe Biden to win and acted intentionally to achieve those ends.
People might say, “No, that was the furthest thing from his mind.” But that’s just not the case with an individual who has a track record of rigging elections with false information and admitting to it. Now, you have to ask yourself what’s on the other end? Maybe he wanted to be the permanent CIA director. Maybe he wanted to be the head of the IC at the office of Director of National Intelligence. Why else would he just randomly help Joe Biden?
It could be he would have been satisfied with just having Trump lose. Maybe. But maybe there’s more to that transcript. I’m sure there is, and it just hasn’t been released yet. Chairman Jordan and Chairman Turner of the Intel Committee issued a joint letter to Secretary Blinken based on Michael Morell’s testimony.
They smartly said, “Not you Secretary Blinken in your capacity as Secretary of State, but you Tony Blinken in your capacity as senior advisor to Joe Biden on his presidential campaign, why did you have these conversations? Please produce these documents. What emails did you have? What memorandum do you have? Who are you talking to about this? Who in the media did you go to and you owe us all this information.”
We have a ways to go, but they also need to subpoena Tony Blinken and see what he has to say about the matter, because now you have Michael Morell’s sworn testimony. Tony Blinken should have to come in and answer these hard questions. Because it’s not like you have a very pro-Trump anti-Biden figure saying this under oath. You have a very pro-Biden, anti-Trump figure saying this under oath.
His credibility is augmented in the public sphere automatically, because they can’t say, “You’re biased. You love Trump and hate Biden.” It’s the complete opposite. Whether Tony Blinken comes in, it will remain to be seen whether subpoenas are issued, but he owes the American public an answer. Was Tony Blinken in on helping to rig a presidential election with false information?
Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know what he’s going to say. I don’t know the extent of the interrogation that Mike Morell submitted to, because I don’t have the entire transcript. I don’t think anybody does. We just have snippets of it. There could be more in there, and hopefully the committee will release that to the American public.
But gone are the days where people who say elections are rigged are called the crazy conspirators. We have concrete evidence in this one episode of our show, Jan, that it happened three times in three election cycles in modern U.S. presidential history.
Mr. Jekielek: Let’s just remind people what you mean by election rigging.
Mr. Patel: It’s a very unfortunate, tragic, un-American concept that is simple to define. There are two people running for an office and one side goes after the other. Okay, that’s politics. But what is election rigging? When you create a completely false narrative knowing it’s false just to go out there and defeat your opponent, that’s election rigging.
That’s what happened here. It’s what happened with Michael Morell in Benghazi. It’s what happened with Michael Morell parading Trump as a Putin asset. And it’s what happened here again in the Joe Biden-Donald Trump prior election when Michael Morell falsely defined the Hunter Biden laptop as Russian disinformation. He admitted it, and he admitted why. He wanted Joe Biden to win.
I just want to add one more thing. I want to draw an analogy to the whole Hillary Clinton-Christopher Steele dossier election rigging Russiagate narrative. Did the Biden campaign use any campaign dollars to facilitate the creation of this 51 intel letter and its publication? I hope that’s a question the committee asked Michael Morell and others involved. I hope they’ll be subpoenaing everyone involved in that, including Leon Panetta, the former Secretary of Defense, and the former director of the NSA who all signed this letter.
I want to know their answers, because what are they going to have to do? This is an interesting sort of juxtaposition. You already have one of their former colleagues who thinks the exact same way they do politically and has shown his dislike of President Trump publicly. Are they going to come in and call Michael Morell a liar and say, “We signed this letter and it was true and it’s still true?” It’s going to set up an interesting contradiction when you have cabinet secretaries now forced to answer the question they’ve been not willing to answer.
I hope the subpoenas go out fast and quickly to the Leon Panettas and Michael Haydens of the world because they need to answer this question. Did they knowingly sign on to an “intel” letter that they knew was false in order to rig a presidential election?
Mr. Jekielek: Let’s jump to a related matter. This is Senator Grassley basically coming out, and he’s got a good record on this, saying that he has evidence that the FBI basically labeled evidence as Russian disinformation in order to ostensibly shield the Biden family. If I understand what Grassley said and Margot Cleveland’s reporting, who’s been doing some fantastic work recently.
Mr. Patel: Senator Grassley, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, has been one of the most ardent supporters of the whistleblower program in congressional constitutional oversight in modern history. He has a staff dedicated to it, some of whom I’ve worked with, not on this matter, but on others in the past.
When he comes forward, he doesn’t just say, “I think we found something, or maybe we got something here.” It’s fully baked if Senator Grassley is coming forward and saying, “We have information from whistleblowers that demonstrate the FBI falsely labeled information during a political campaign as Russian misinformation to achieve a narrative to defeat Donald Trump.”
Senator Grassley: Based on protected whistleblower allegations. I know the FBI falsely labeled that evidence as Russian disinformation to bury it.
Mr. Patel: That’s the short summary at the end of it. How did he get there? It’s my understanding that through numerous whistleblowers in the FBI, some of them that have been publicly outed and some that maybe not have, the senator has been working meticulously to piece together that information.
Senator Grassley has asked Christopher Wray under oath, at least on one occasion that I can recall, “Will there be any retaliation against whistleblowers in the FBI?” Chris Wray flat out said, “No.” But as we have seen, there has been retaliation against whistleblowers, whether they were the ones Senator Grassley is talking about here or others that relate to events we talked about on prior shows about January 6th and other narratives, domestic violence terrorists or Russian disinformation.
All of these things need to be dealt with in public, because it’s great that Senator Grassley has done this investigation. I want to know when those individuals are going to come forward and testify. If that’s the case, again, Jan, no coincidences, Chairman Jordan just this week subpoenaed the head of the FBI Human Resources Department, because he said she did not comply with her obligations to submit to an interrogation under oath. She sat down for it, but she refused to answer questions related to FBI employees who were terminated or adverse action was taken against them for providing information to Congress in the form of a whistleblower.
These two things are directly related. Having worked in the United States Congress in an investigatory capacity, you generally always reach out to your counterpart. If you’re Senate staff, you’re reaching out to your counterparts on the Hill on the House side to say, “I’m on this intel committee. You’re on that intel committee. Let’s work together.” It’s how we did Russiagate. It’s how the judiciary committee is talking on the House side to the judiciary committee on the Senate side.
There’s going to be a point where these come together. The reason they need to come together is because in the Senate, the Republicans don’t have the majority. They don’t have the gavels, and they don’t have the ability to issue subpoenas. But in the House, they do.
You’re seeing a tandem at play here that I hope to see continue with not just the subpoenaing of this person in charge of Chris Wray’s hiring and firing of FBI personnel, but other individuals related to these narratives that are out there. Because it all relates to the thing we’ve been talking about, election rigging.
This is a whole other topic for another day, but the question you’re asking is did the FBI and its employees undertake a conspiracy to block information, manipulate it, and distort it so that it would be put out on the public side to favor a political narrative, even though they knew that information was false? It seems like they have time and time again, and this is one line of effort that Senator Grassley is exposing. I hope he works faster.
Mr. Jekielek: Right. It just highlights this kind of broader issue you have. Of course, Morell has been singled out as someone who’s on record now as being engaged in this sort of activity. But now, here’s another example. We have yet to see the details of this in the FBI.
Mr. Patel: You can’t say anymore, “It’s never happened. It could never happen in the United States of America. It’s not possible. The agencies and departments of the government don’t do that. Cabinet secretaries won’t do that. The FBI would never.” We’ve shown time and time again, whether it’s Russiagate or anything else from then. Unfortunately, it has happened too often and it needs to be corrected.
Mr. Jekielek: Let’s jump to what Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, is doing with this Trump case.
Mr. Patel: Yes. Quick update for audience. It didn’t get much attention this week, but Alvin Bragg as the prosecutor or his office filed a motion before the court and the judge that’s hearing the Donald Trump case. What the prosecutor’s office is asking for is essentially the equivalent of almost a gag order on Donald Trump.
If you recall, Jan, we said on this show initially when that was brought, that I want the discovery process to play out. I want to see the evidence that Alvin Bragg has, and I want the public to know what he has built his case on, because I, as a former federal prosecutor, think it is a sham that he has built it on faulty evidence.
Now, we’re at the point where discovery is supposed to actually get traded. That means mostly the prosecution is supposed to provide the defense, Donald Trump, with all the evidence. He has not yet done so because he’s filed this motion saying, “Before we do, judge, we want you to tell Donald Trump that he can’t talk about it, that he can’t post about it, that he can’t publicize it, that he can’t go out and give a press conference about it in any way, shape, or form.” That is essentially a gag order on the discovery proc