Former FBI Director James Comey didn't know a lot during Friday's congressional testimony - claiming hundreds of times (245 according to Trump) that he simply couldn't remember various things.
What Comey did remember, however, confirms that the FBI could not verify the dossier submitted by former UK spy Christopher Steele - which the agency used as the foundation of a spy warrant application to surveil the Trump campaign.
While Comey said the dossier came from "a reliable source with a track record, and it’s an important thing when you’re seeking a PC warrant," he also admitted that the FBI was unable to corroborate the document's claims.
"But what I understand by verified is we then try to replicate the source information so that it becomes FBI investigation and our conclusions rather than a reliable source's," Comey said, adding "That’s what I understand it, the difference to be. And that work wasn’t completed by the time I left in May of 2017, to my knowledge."
The FBI is required to fully vet information they submit to FISA courts, which they of course did not do in their haste to deploy a counterintelligence dragnet on the Trump campaign during the final months of the 2016 US election.
Steele, meanwhile, was fired by the FBI for leaking information to the press while the agency was using him as a source. To get around this, the FBI went through former #4 DOJ official Bruce Ohr - who was demoted twice for lying about his contacts with Steele.
Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for the embattled research firm Fusion GPS on the Trump dossier. Fusion GPS hired Steele as part of their ongoing effort to investigate the Trump campaign and any ties with Russia. It was discovered in 2017 that Fusion GPS was being paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the campaign’s law firm Perkins Coie to investigate any alleged ties between Trump and Russia.
More importantly, the FBI used information from Steele, a foreign source who was openly antagonistic about Trump. In fact, Ohr told FBI officials that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” as stated in the House Intelligence Committee investigation memo. -Sara Carter
Comey's confirmation echoes comments made in a string of emails quietly requested by House Republicans for declassification - as reported last week by The Hill's John Solomon. The emails - kept from Congressional investigators for over two years, "included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division," according to the report - and took place in early to mid-October of 2016, prior to the FBI successfully securing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.
The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured. -The Hill
And while Comey's sudden amnesia has gotten a wholesale pass from the MSM, he did tell Congressional investigators that he has no idea what the crime of "collusion" is.
House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy asked Comey Friday afternoon during a closed-door hearing, “Some of our friends in the media use the word ‘collusion’ from time to time. What is the crime of collusion?”
Comey responded, “What is the crime of collusion? I do not know. I’ve never heard the term ‘collusion’ used in the way it’s been used in our world over the last couple [sic] years before that.” He continued, “I don’t know of a crime that involves collusion. I think in terms of conspiracy or aiding and abetting.”
Gowdy later asked Comey what he thought the difference was between “collusion” and “conspiracy.”
“I don’t know because I don’t know what collusion means. It’s a term I haven’t heard in my career in the Justice Department, so I don’t know,” said Comey. -Daily Caller
What exactly is special counsel Robert Mueller investigating again?