- A declassified document from the Senate Judiciary Committee confirms that the FBI "relied heavily" on an unverified dossier in order to obtain FISA surveillance warrants on one-time Trump advisor Carter Page
- Unredacted portions of the document reveal the FBI's extensive involvement with the creator of the dossier, former UK spy Christopher Steele
- Despite Steele lying to the FBI which led to the agency ending their relationship, they still used his unverified memo and vouched for his reputation to obtain the FISA warrants
- The unredacted memo clarifies that the FBI notified the FISA court of the dossier's political origins "to a vaguely limited extent"
- The FBI has withheld the notes from their meetings with Steele
- Steele received information for an unpublished second dossier from the Obama State Department led by John Kerry at the time
- Much of the information in this "Grassley Memo" matches with the contents of the "Nunes Memo" released by the House Intelligence Committee last Friday.
A largely unredacted version of a criminal referral made against Fusion GPS operative Christopher Steele reveals several new bombshells, and confirms that the FBI heavily relied on an unverified dossier created by the former UK spy - along with a Yahoo News article which used Steele's information, to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant on one-time Trump advisor Carter Page.
The previously redacted sections of the document notably covered up the FBI's extensive working relationship with Steele - who was paid $168,000 to create the dossier used in the FISA applications. The fact that he was considered reliable was used as an argument to the FISA court to make up for the fact that the underlying dossier was unverified.
11) CONFIRMS that Comey and the FBI had an extended relationship with Steele and relied heavily on him and the #SteeleDossier "Mr. Steele himself was considered reliable due to his past work for the Bureau" (page 2) pic.twitter.com/z00ORLZWRs— TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) February 7, 2018
15) #GrassleyMemo demonstrates that the sole source for the FISA warrant was Christopher Steele. A source that was NEVER VERIFIED. Thus, an unverified source was used to spy on Americans. Grassley puts the FBI and DOJ firmly on the hook for not verifying and for omission. (p7-8) pic.twitter.com/BUt3I5lVjq— TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) February 7, 2018
Indeed, the documents we have reviewed show that the FBI took important investigative steps largely based on Mr. Steele's information - and relying heavily on his credibility. Specifically, on October 21, 2016, the FBI filed its first warrant application under FISA for Carter Page. [redacted] The bulk of the application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations agast Mr. Page, although it does cite to a news article that appears to be sourced to Mr. Steele's dossier as well.
“Mr. Steele’s apparent deception seems to have posed significant, material consequences on the FBI’s investigative decisions and representations to the court,” wrote Grassley and Graham.
Moreover, the less-redacted document reveals that the FBI misled the FISA court:
13) FBI lied to the court by omission!— TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) February 7, 2018
October 2016 FBI suspends relationship with Steele for leaking to the press yet repeatedly tells the court they do not believe it was intentional! #GrassleyMemo reveals Steele leaked PRIOR to Oct 2016. FBI withheld this from the court (pg4) pic.twitter.com/0jIHZbskw0
3) The FBI was still claiming to the FISA Court Steele hadn't talked to the media when they knew he had. They did this during EACH of the three renewals of the warrant.— Stealth Jeff (@drawandstrike) February 7, 2018
Remember, the FBI had to *pretend* to the FISA Court they didn't know Steele was reporter Michael Isikoff's source for that Yahoo News article they proffered to the Court to corroborate the dossier allegations about Carter Page.— Stealth Jeff (@drawandstrike) February 7, 2018
Or did they?
As I read para 2 of this page, the FISC was informed by the FBI (in the Jan 2017 FISA renewal) that Steele had been suspended because of unauthorised leaks to the media.— Imperator_Rex (@Imperator_Rex3) February 7, 2018
QS : how on earth did a FISC judge renew a Title 1 warrant knowing this?
The FISC is also in the frame. https://t.co/lO91j0tAlQ
The declassified Grassley Memo also clears up a dispute over the extent to which the FBI notified the FISA court that the Steele dossier was an opposition research document.
The "Nunes memo" released last Friday from the House Intelligence Committee states that "Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele's efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials."
Ranking House Intel Committee Democrat Adam Schiff disputed that the FISA court wasn't notified of the dossier's political origins, calling it "inaccurate" and stating that the court was aware that there was a "likely political motivation" behind the Steele dossier.
From the Grassley Memo:
"FBI noted to a vaguely limited extent the political origins of the dossier. In footnote 8 the FBI stated that the dossier information was compiled pursuant to the direction of a law firm who had hired an "identified U.S. person" -- now known as Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS."
The Grassley memo also notes that the FBI never told the FISC that Mr. Steele was "desperate" to see that Mr. Trump was not elected President - as told to the FBI by DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who was demoted for failing to disclose that he met with Fusion GPS and Steele.
#GrassleyMemo CONFIRMS that Comey and the FBI worked for the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Perkins Coie got paid. #FusionGPS got paid. Steele got paid. Are we to believe that Comey did not get paid in some form? Why the slavish devotion? (page 3) pic.twitter.com/DyGfD7ndTX— TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) February 7, 2018
"In short, it appears the FBI relied on admittedly uncorroborated information, funded by and obtained for Secretary Clinton's presidential campaign, in order to conduct surveillance of an associate of the opposing presidential candidate. It did so based on Mr. Steele's personal credibility and presumably having faith in his process of obtaining the information."
To sum up; anti-Trump FBI agents used an unverified dossier from an anti-Trump opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, which commissioned an anti-Trump former British spy to assemble anti-Trump memos using high level Kremlin officials as sources. To top it off, Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for it.
Previewing "Phase Two"
In an interview following the release of the House Intelligence Committee "Nunes Memo" last Friday detailing the FBI's FISA abuse, Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said that the investigation leading up to the four-page FISA memo released on Friday was only "phase one," and that the House Intelligence Committee is currently in the middle of investigating the State Department over their involvement in surveillance abuses.
"We are in the middle of what I call phase two of our investigation, which involves other departments, specifically the State Department and some of the involvement that they had in this," said Nunes.
#BREAKING: Devin Nunes says this is just the first memo to be released. He says there will be another one dealing specifically with the State Department’s role in everything that happened. pic.twitter.com/kpHVDQ44WX— Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸 (@RealSaavedra) February 3, 2018
The Grassley memo also points to a second anti-Trump dossier which Steele and the Obama State Department involved in, along with Clinton "hatchet man" Cody Shearer.
According to the referral, Steele wrote the additional memo based on anti-Trump information that originated with a foreign source. In a convoluted scheme outlined in the referral, the foreign source gave the information to an unnamed associate of Hillary and Bill Clinton, who then gave the information to an unnamed official in the Obama State Department, who then gave the information to Steele. Steele wrote a report based on the information, but the redacted version of the referral does not say what Steele did with the report after that.
Published accounts in the Guardian and the Washington Post have indicated that Clinton associate Cody Shearer was in contact with Steele about anti-Trump research, and Obama State Department official Jonathan Winer was a connection between Steele and the State Department during the 2016 campaign. -Washington Examiner
Shearer's late sister was married to Strobe Talbott, the chief authority on Russia in President Bill Clinton’s State Department, while his brother served as an ambassador during the Clinton administration, according to ProPublica.
"We caught them. It's so much fun." -- Trump on the Nunes memo pic.twitter.com/Yrr1ZcnVzY— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 5, 2018
Read the declassified criminal referral ("Grassley Memo") below: