Washington watchdog Judicial Watch believes the FBI still is covering up information related to the origin of the claim that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia.
In Senate testimony last week, Attorney General William Barr upset Democrats when he disclosed he believes the Obama administration spied on the 2016 Trump campaign. Barr said he plans to review the matter along with the origins of counter-intelligence probe.
It’s already known that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign funded the creation of the dubious anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
The document was used by the Obama administration to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
Judicial Watch has sued the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act for records of communications and payments between the FBI and Steele and his private firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.
“How and why did the FBI pay Christopher Steele, who was already being funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC through Fusion GPS?” asked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“That we had to sue for this basic information shows the FBI may have something more to hide.”
The case was filed after the FBI didn’t respond to a FOIA request filed last fall.
It sought records of communications between the FBI and Steele, records related to any payments to him or his company and records “produced in preparation for, during, or pursuant to any meetings or telephonic conversations between any official, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Christopher Steele and/or any employee or representative of Orbis Business Intelligence.”
Judicial Watch previously disclosed that former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr told Congress that “at some point during 2017, Chris Steele did speak with somebody from the FBI, but I don’t know who.”
Its FOIA lawsuit is the latest its investigation of the dossier.
In a related case, Judicial Watch revealed the FBI cut off Steele from his position as a “Confidential Human Source” after he disclosed his relationship with the bureau to a third party.
An estimated $168,000 was paid by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, through Fusion GPS, to Steele’s company, Orbis, in 2016.
Judicial Watch previously sued to obtain communications between Steele and then-FBI General Counsel James Baker.
“The real collusion scandal of the 2016 election is the effort by the Clinton campaign and the Obama DOJ/FBI to spy on and destroy President Donald Trump,” Fitton said at the time. “And it looks like the FBI is covering up documents on this Russiagate scandal, which is why Judicial Watch is again in federal court.”
Judicial Watch said the FBI “claimed it had no responsive records, but Baker was deeply involved with the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and is currently the subject of a criminal investigation for leaking to the media.”
Further, the FBI’s claim is undermined by Baker’s own “closed-door” testimony to Congress just a few months ago “in which he reportedly testified that David Corn, a reporter at the far left Mother Jones magazine, had provided him with a copy of the anti-Trump dossier the day after President Trump’s 2016 election victory. Baker also reportedly testified that he believed at the time Corn received the dossier from Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS,” Judicial Watch said.