Senate panel releases FBI memo related to mystery source for Steele Dossier
Chuck Ross on July 17, 2020
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday released a newly declassified FBI memo from an interview with the primary source for Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier.
Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the memo “indicates that the reliability of the dossier was completely destroyed” after the interviews, which were conducted over the course of three days in January 2017.
“These documents, which I have long sought, tell a damning story for anyone who’s interested in trying to find the truth behind the corrupt nature of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016 and beyond,” Graham said in a statement announcing the release of the document.
According to the 57-page memo, the dossier’s source described how he came to work for Steele and how he collected information for an investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.
The source provided details of six sub-sources whose information he passed to Steele, who was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate the Trump campaign.
The identities of the primary source and sub-sources are redacted in the memo, which summarizes interviews conducted from Jan. 24-26, 2017.
BuzzFeed News had published the dossier two weeks earlier.
Steele, a former MI6 officer, relied exclusively on the source’s information for the dossier, which accused the Trump campaign and Kremlin of working together in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” to influence the 2016 election.
Steele also alleged that Trump campaign aide Carter Page was a key figure in the conspiracy.
The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s information to obtain four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders against Page.
Steele’s source undercut many of the dossier’s allegations. According to the memo, the source said that Steele misrepresented information in the dossier, and passed rumor as fact.
The source told the FBI that Steele’s allegation that the Kremlin has a sexual blackmail tape of Trump was based on “rumor and speculation” passed from staff at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow.
The source also said that Steele provided him a list of four or five names of Trump associates he wanted investigated. Carter Page and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen were on the list.
In the dossier, Steele alleged that Cohen visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin insiders to discuss hacking Democrats during the 2016 campaign. Steele’s source said that a woman he knew — identified in the memo as “Source 5” — passed along the information.
The Justice Department inspector general’s report said that Cohen did not visit Prague, and that the FBI received evidence on Jan. 12, 2017 that the information about Cohen may have been Russian disinformation.
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