By Mollie Hemingway
Originally published by TheFederalist
A criminal referral from top Senate investigators confirms explosive charges in last week’s House Intelligence Committee memo regarding abuse of surveillance authorities at the FBI and Department of Justice. It also reveals a host of problems arising from the bureau’s cooperation with foreign investigator Christopher Steele, who was working on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The eight-page memo from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) includes underlying evidence to support the claims.
“It appears the FBI relied on admittedly uncorroborated information, funded by and obtained for Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in order to conduct surveillance of an associate of the opposing presidential candidate. It did so based on Mr. Steele’s personal credibility and presumably having faith in his process of obtaining the information. But there is substantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele materially misled the FBI about a key aspect of his dossier efforts, one which bears on his credibility,” Sens. Graham and Grassley wrote.
The letter describes a verification effort before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) so inadequate it resembles a concerted effort to conceal information from the court. However, the senators blame Steele’s “apparent deception” for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) failures by FBI and Justice, and refer Steele for investigation of violating federal lawregarding making false statements to the U.S. government. The letter also reveals Clinton associates were feeding Steele allegations that he used in his reports.
Last week’s memo from the House Intelligence Committee reported:
- A salacious and unverified dossier formed an essential part of the application to secure a warrant against a Trump campaign affiliate named Carter Page. This application failed to reveal that the dossier was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
- The application presented a Yahoo News article as corroboration for the dossier, when in fact it was sourced to the dossier’s author Christopher Steele.
- The wife of a high-ranking Justice Department official also worked on behalf of the Clinton campaign effort, and her husband Bruce Ohr funneled her research into the Department of Justice. Although he admitted that Steele “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” this and the Ohrs’ relationship with the Clinton campaign was concealed from the secret court that grants surveillance warrants.
- The dossier was “only minimally corroborated” and unverified, according to FBI officials.
Evidence supporting all of these claims is included in a less redacted version of the senators’ January 4, 2018, referral made publicly available late Tuesday evening. A highly redacted version of the referral was made publicly available the previous day, causing Grassley to ask the FBI to aim for more transparency. The FBI had previously attempted to keep the public from learning details of its relationship with Steele, leading Grassley to publicly decry a “bureaucratic game of hide the ball” by the FBI and DOJ.
According to the senators, the FBI relied on dossier author Steele’s alleged credibility — as opposed to corroboration or verification of his salacious and improbable claims — for the initial warrant application and its three renewals. The application also mentioned a Yahoo News article, but not only didn’t mention the article was sourced to an anonymous Steele, it positively claimed it wasn’t.
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