A lengthy, glowing New Yorker magazine profile on the anti-Trump “dossier” author, Christopher Steele, reported the former MI6 agent knew that his work was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
That claim conflicts with the FBI’s explicit statement in its October 2016 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance application that Steele was unaware of who financed his work for Fusion GPS, the opposition-research company hired by the Democrats’ law firm Perkins Coie, reports investigative reporter Sara Carter.
Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has testified to Congress that the dossier was essential to obtaining the warrant to spy on former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
New Yorker writer Jane Mayer wrote that several months after Steele was subcontracted by Fusion GPS in the spring of 2016, he learned his research was being jointly subsidized by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.
But in a footnote on the warrant application to the FISA court on Oct. 21, 2016, the FBI stated “Source #1,” meaning Steele, was “never advised” as to “the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s (Trump’s) ties to Russia.”
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Carter asks: “Did Steele lie to the FBI or did the FBI choose not to disclose this information to the secret court?”
Steele held personal animus toward Trump, and was “passionate” about ensuring the real estate billionaire did not become president, Senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr informed the Justice Department, according to the House Intelligence Committee’s majority Republican memo, released Feb. 2. Ohr met multiple times with Steele, beginning in the summer of 2016.
Steele was suspended and then terminated by the FBI as a source after he disclosed to the media his relationship with the bureau. But Steele, the memo states, continued contact with the Justice Department through Ohr, who worked closely with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Republican senators Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, a senior committee member, have named Steele in a criminal referral, accusing him of making false statements about “the distribution of claims contained in the dossier.”
Meanwhile, the former Russian double agent authorities believe was poisoned with a nerve agent in the U.K. last weekend has links to Steele, the London Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.
The Telegraph said Sergei Skripal, who remains in critical condition, was in close contact with a security consultant who worked for Steele. The paper said that if the Kremlin believed Skripal “might have helped with the compilation of the dossier, it could explain the motive for the assassination attempt in Salisbury town center.”
Steele: Dossier ‘unverified,’ ‘raw intelligence’
The former Trump campaign volunteer Page has denied all of the accusations made against him in the Steele dossier and has filed lawsuits against Buzzfeed and other media outlets for publishing the claims.
Powerline blogger Scott Johnson points out that the New Yorker feature by Jane Mayer, which “presents Steele as a left-liberal heartthrob,” doesn’t mention the fact that Steele is the defendant in several defamation lawsuits contesting the veracity of the dossier.
With the stakes raised for false testimony, Steele has downplayed the significance of his findings, noted former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.
In a lawsuit by filed in London by Aleksej Gubarev, whom Steele accused of participating in Russian intelligence hacking, the former British spy testified the dossier is merely a compilation of bits of “raw intelligence” that were “unverified.”
Steele explained he passed along the information because it “warranted further investigation,” not because he could vouch for its truthfulness.
Powerline’s Johnson observed that the New Yorker’s Mayer “should have been especially interested in Steele’s disclaimer of the veracity of his dossier.”
Mayer wrote that she represented the New Yorker when it was among the “major press organs” that met with Steele “during the stretch run of a contentious presidential election.”
Deadline for answers on ‘dirty dossier’
In an interview Monday with Fox News, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., reacted to the New Yorker profile, calling it “more evidence about how dirty this dossier is.”
“The dossier on the face of it is ridiculous,” Nunes said. “The Russians had an operation against us, but they’ve always had an operation against the United States of America, going back for many, many years and many elections.”
Nunes told Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Wednesday that top officials from the Obama and Trump administrations have until Friday to answer a questionnaire to find out what they known about the Democrats’ funding of the dossier.
Nunes said his committee has received “quite a few” responses, noting the initial deadline was last Friday. A few extension requests were granted, he said, and there are a few individuals who never replied.
“If they don’t respond by the end of this week, then they will be getting subpoenaed to do a deposition,” Nunes warned.
Wednesday night, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is considering appointing a special counsel to probe the FBI and Justice Department investigations of alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.