President Trump’s top intelligence official on Tuesday released unverified information about the 2016 campaign that appeared to be a bid to help Mr. Trump politically and was said to be disclosed over the objections of career intelligence officials who were concerned that the material could be Russian disinformation.
The disclosures were the latest by John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence and previously an outspoken congressional ally of the president, that highlighted information that helped Mr. Trump but that critics have called distortions.
Mr. Ratcliffe sought to shore up the credibility of the material, which centered on claims about Hillary Clinton, saying that it was not a product of Russian disinformation after initially acknowledging that it could be. But his initial disclosure, coming hours before the first presidential debate, offered fresh ammunition for Mr. Trump to attack his political enemies.
In a letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Ratcliffe laid out snippets of previously classified reports suggesting that Russian intelligence had acquired information that Mrs. Clinton had approved a plan for her 2016 campaign to “stir up a scandal” against Mr. Trump by tying him to the Russian hackers who had broken into Democratic servers.
Other officials — including Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department, and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee — had evaluated and rejected the information in the years since, according to three current and former officials familiar with those inquiries.
An official familiar with the committee’s work said that Mr. Ratcliffe and Mr. Graham released it over the objections of other intelligence officials.