Last weekend's release of a FISA warrant application to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was quite revealing - perhaps most of all because we learned that the FBI in relied heavily on the Steele dossier, contrary to claims that it played a minor role.
What's even more troubling, as noted by Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller, is a report contained in a new book by two journalists involved in the ordeal, David Corn and Michael Isikoff, who state that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson had serious doubts about one of the sources used in the Steele Dossier.
Simpson called dossier source Sergei Millian a "big talker" who overstated his connections to Trump, and had a "fifty-fifty" chance of being accurate.
“Had Millian made something up or repeated rumors he had heard from others to impress Steele’s collector? Simpson had his doubts. He considered Millian a big talker,” Isikoff and Corn, who are good friends with Simpson. Isikoff notably wrote a Yahoo! News article containing claims directly from Christopher Steele - a relationship the FBI lied about in Carter Page's FISA application when they said Isikoff did not directly receive the information from the former MI6 spy, while Isikoff said he did in a February podcast.
Millian is both Source D and Source E in the dossier, according to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. In the 35-page document, Source D alleged that the Russian government is blackmailing Donald Trump with video of a sexual tryst with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel room. Source E described an alleged “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between them and the Russian leadership.”
“This was managed on the TRUMP side by the Republican candidate’s campaign manger, Paul MANAFORT, who was using foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries,” reads the dossier. -Daily Caller
Millian, meanwhile, operates a shadowy trade group called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. He denies being a dossier source, though he has refused to speculate as to whether he may have unwittingly provided claims that ended up in the report.
Millian did have one known link to the Trump campaign. In late July 2016, he reached out to George Papadopoulos, the Trump adviser who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of his contacts with an alleged Russian agent.
Sources close to Papadopoulos have told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he met Millian for the first time several days after Millian reached out to the campaign aide on LinkedIn. Sources close to Papadopoulos have also said that Millian offered Papadopoulos $30,000 a month for a business deal that would require him to remain in the Trump orbit. Papadopoulos rejected the idea, according to TheDCNF’s sources. -Daily Caller
Millian, a Belarusian American businessman, has denied being a Russian spy, though he does admit to having Kremlin contacts, and told the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross that he was one of the "very few people who have insider knowledge of Kremlin politics...who has been able to successfully integrate in American society."
While the 412-page release of Page's FISA application and subsequent renewals were heavily redacted, GOP lawmakers who have seen less redacted copies say that the redacted portions don't provide any evidence that they verified the dossier whatsoever, while it remains unclear what efforts - if any, the FBI undertook to corroborate any of the claims.
What's more, the FBI stated several dossier claims as fact within the FISA application.
For example, the FBI says in the application that Page secretly met with Kremlin insiders Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin during a July 2016 trip to Moscow - a claim directly out of the dossier, which Page has vehemently disputed.
FBI represented to a federal judge that investigators knew for certain that Carter Page met w/ Igor Sechin and Diveykin. Except, the FISA app acknowledges this intel came from Steele dossier. And FBI has acknowledged dossier was not verifieid. https://t.co/7ZstgwlVOh pic.twitter.com/NDYvBIhXB0— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) July 21, 2018
Another approach used to beef up the FISA application's curb appeal was circular evidence, via the inclusion of a letter from Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) to former FBI Director James Comey, citing information Reid got from John Brennan, which was in turn from the Clinton-funded dossier.
BREAKING: FBI's FISA warrant actually cites as "evidence" to spy on Carter Page/Trump campaign "Senate Minority Leader" Harry Reid's 2016 letter to Comey citing information he got from John Brennan who got it from the Clinton dossier -- talk about circular evidence!— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) July 22, 2018
The FBI also went to extreme lengths to convince the FISA judge that Steele ("Source #1"), was reliable when they could not verify the unsubstantiated claims in his dossier - while also having to explain why they still trusted his information after having terminated Steele's contract over inappropriate disclosures he made to the media.
"Not withstanding Source1's reason for conducting the research into Candidate1's ties to Russia, based on Source1's previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source 1s reporting herein to be credible"
On top of that, Bill Priestap told Congress that corroboration of the dossier was in its "infancy" when FISAs were being granted. An FBI unit found dossier was only "minimally" corroborated.— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) July 22, 2018
Millian, meanwhile, is Sure that Trump likes Russia, "because he likes beautiful Russian ladies... He likes talking to them, of course. And he likes to be able to make lot of money with Russians, yes, correct.”
Trump also likes paying them to urinate on beds, according to Millian, allegedly.
I honestly wonder how many prior FISA warrants have been based upon oppo research done by smear shops such as Fusion GPS working in conjunction with FBI to target American citizens because of their political affiliation?— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) July 22, 2018