For a man that says he was “desperate” to prevent Trump from being elected, it begs the question why Christopher Steele is even being used as a source of information regarding Donald Trump. Steele isn’t an American, so he shouldn’t care wh president of the US is, to begin with. As a former British spy, he worked the Russia desk for years. He’s been referenced as an informant to talk about Trump’s ties to Russia.
Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who heads up the Senate Judiciary Committee, has a lot to say about Steele being unreliable.
Graham explains that they have received at least six warnings that Steele was an unreliable source of information. Some of what the Senate has received is still classified, so it can’t be shared. However, Republicans have been accusing the FBI of abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, continuously relying on unverified reports from Steele. Additionally, Carter Page, the former campaign advisor to Trump was wiretapped – and the Bureau obtained for warrants as a way to spy on Page, first granted in October 2016.
The FBI also failed to disclose that Christopher Steele told Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official that he was “desperate” to ensure that Trump wouldn’t be elected. Information from Steele was continuously cited by the FBI on its FISA application, even though ties with the ex-spy was cut in November 2016. What information Steele could have is questionable, especially when he ran the Russia desk between the years of 2006 and 2009. Any kind of conspiracy would have been in 2015 or 2016 – so Steele is likely depending on hearsay or his own thoughts in order to provide “insight” into what’s been going on.
Steele authoring a dossier claiming that Russia collected a file of compromising information on the president leaves more questions than it does answers – and now Graham wants to search for those answers.
Mueller’s special counsel report undercut the dossier by Steele considerably. The dossier read that there was a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between the Russian government and the Trump campaign as a way to influence the 2016 election. However, Mueller’s report said just the opposite. Everything that Mueller wrote about debunked the allegations by Steele – including the allegation of collusion. According to Steele, Trump’s former lawyer traveled to Prague in August 2016 for a meeting with Kremlin operatives. Mueller’s report quoted Cohen denying that he ever visited Prague.
Graham has explained that the FBI received a number of different warnings about Steele, even before they submitted the first FISA warrant application. As such, this would question whether Carter page should have ever experienced a wiretap on his phone – especially if the FBI submitted the application under false pretenses.
Steele was continuously being identified as unreliable, yet the FBI continued to use the information that they received in order to move forward as if they weren’t being informed of these things. With the FBI potentially abusing the FISA process, it questions whether they are on the side of the Democrats – manipulating data simply to find a reason to impeach Trump.
Graham has already called on William Barr, the Attorney General to declassify nine categories of information related to the FISA applications, including efforts that the FBI may have taken to verify Steele’s allegations. Once these details are released, it will make it easier to see just what information the FBI used in order to get the FISA applications. It can also identify a timeline in terms of when the FBI found out about Steele and the various allegations that he wasn’t a credible witness.
The FBI has failed to do their due diligence – and now it’s coming back around to bite them. Just as every other branch of the government has to take accusations into consideration, the FBI must do it, too. Everything that they have gotten against Trump through Page’s wiretap and more may have to be dismissed because they falsified the information on the FISA process. The FBI cannot simply go against the FISA in order to tap who they want.
The Democrats are getting desperate to find information – and they’re willing to use the word of a British ex-spy who has gone on record to say that he was desperate to not see Trump in office. That doesn’t bode well for Christopher Steele being a qualified informant as to what’s going on. If there were any documents that Steele has shared to support his information, beyond simple hearsay, it has not been identified.