Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, has demanded the Department of Justice (DOJ) provide more documents related to Christopher Steeles sources, including one primary source.
Grahams move came after a newly-declassified footnote (pdf) shows one of Steeles sources had informed the FBI back on Jan. 12, 2017, that Steeles dossier was possibly tainted by disinformation from Russia.
The FBI was informed by a source that Steele, a former British intelligence officer and the author of the dossier, had frequent contacts with Russian oligarchs, which raised concerns at the bureaus Transnational Organized Crime Intelligence Unit, the footnote indicated.
“In addition to the information in Steeles Delta file documenting Steeles frequent contacts with representatives of Russia oligarchs, we identified reporting the Crossfire Hurricane team received from [redacted] indicating the potential for Russia disinformation influencing Steeles election reporting,” reads the now declassified footnote 350 on page 197 of DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitzs report released on Dec. 9, 2019.
“A January 12, 2017, report relayed information from [redacted] outlining an inaccuracy in a limited subset of Steeles reporting about the activities of Michael Cohen. The [redacted] stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steeles reporting and assessed that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations,” reads the footnote.
The DOJ released the footnotes in response to a request by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
In an investigation codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump 2016 presidential campaign adviser Carter Page.
The application was filed on Oct. 21, 2016, and renewed three times on Jan. 12, April 7, and June 29, 2017.
The April 2017 warrant renewal application was approved by then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Former FBI Director James Comey approved the April 2017 warrant application.
The last two renewal applications were determined by the DOJ to be “not valid,” according to an unclassified order (pdf) released by Presiding FISA Court Judge James Boasberg.
Steeles dossier, which alleged collusion between the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump and the Russian government to sway the 2016 presidential election, played a crucial role in the FISA warrant applications.
The dossier was funded by Hillary Clintons 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The Crossfire Hurricane investigation was ultimately unable to establish any such collusion. Former DOJ Special Counsel Robert Mueller also found insufficient evidence to establish that Trump, or anyone from his campaign, colluded with Russia.
The IG Report (pdf) focused on abuses of the FISA process. The IGs findings showed numerous problems with the actions taken by FBI agents in obtaining the FISA warrant used to spy on Page.
Horowitz identified “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications, and many additional errors in the Woods Procedures.”
Another declassified footnote suggests that a source identified as a “Primary Sub-source” in the IG report may not qualify as a source.
“When interviewed by the FBI, the Primary Sub-source stated that he/she did not view his/her contacts as a network of sources, [redacted] with whom he/she has conversations about current events and government relations,” read footnote 334 on page 186.
Steele relied on the Primary Sub-source for information. The latter used a network of sub-sources to gather the information, the IG report said.
Steele didnt disclose the identity of the Primary Sub-source to the FBI.
Grahams requested documents relate to both footnotes.
In an April 20 letter (pdf) to Attorney General William Barr, Graham asked the DOJ to provide all documents and communications related to the FBIs interviews with the Primary Sub-source in January, March, and May 2017.
He also demanded the complete Feb. 15, 2017, email exchange between then-FBI agent Peter Strzok, the former head of FBI counterintelligence Bill Priestap, and others.
Strzok stated in the email that “recenRead More From Source