- Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy dropped a potential bombshell Tuesday regarding what information the FBI relied on to corroborate claims in the Steele dossier.
- Gowdy said when he was in office, he saw an FBI spreadsheet that cited news articles and information from longtime Clinton insider Sidney Blumenthal as corroboration for the dossier.
- Gowdy did not identify what information from Blumenthal was cited, but the Clinton ally shopped around a dossier of his own containing allegations about Donald Trump.
Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy claimed Tuesday the FBI cited articles and information from longtime Clinton fixer Sidney Blumenthal as corroboration for claims made in the Steele dossier, a scenario the former congressman called “a problem.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Martha Maccallum, Gowdy said when he was still in Congress, he saw an FBI spreadsheet that laid out all of the specific claims in the dossier, which former British spy Christopher Steele authored. The spreadsheet also cited information the FBI believed corroborated Steele’s salacious report, he said.
“I’ve seen the spreadsheet, Martha, I have seen each factual assertion listed in that dossier, and then I’ve seen the FBI’s justification. And when you’re citing newspaper articles as corroboration for a factual assertion that you have made, you don’t need an FBI agent to go do a Google search,” said Gowdy, who served on the House Intelligence Committee and is a Fox News contributor.
“When the name Sidney Blumenthal is included as part of your corroboration, and when you’re the world’s leading law enforcement agency, you have a problem.”
Gowdy did not further explain how the FBI used information from Blumenthal, but his claim could be a potential bombshell as investigators probe the FBI’s use of the dossier in its investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Congressional Republicans have accused the FBI of improperly relying on the unverified dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. They have also faulted the FBI for failing to tell surveillance court judges that Steele was investigating the Trump campaign on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC.
Blumenthal, who is one of the Clintons’ closest political allies, was involved in shopping around a report that contained some of the same allegations about Donald Trump that were included in Steele’s document. That eight-page report was authored by Cody Shearer, another longtime Clinton insider who is close friends with Blumenthal. (RELATED: Clinton Fixer’s Second Dossier Was Met With Skepticism)
Both Shearer and Blumenthal are considered controversial figures. Shearer first came to prominence in the early 1990s after he peddled false allegations that then-Vice President Dan Quayle bought marijuana from a man who was in prison at the time. Blumenthal helped stoke false rumors in the 2008 campaign that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.
Like Steele, Shearer cited sources who claimed the Russian government had sexually compromising material on Trump. No evidence has emerged supporting the claim, which Trump has vehemently denied.
Shearer’s two memos, which he put together in September and October 2016, made their way to the FBI through Steele.
Blumenthal provided Shearer’s reports to Jonathan Winer, a State Department official who was Steele’s main contact to the agency. Winer gave Shearer’s document to Steele, who in turn gave the document to the FBI. The Guardian reported Jan. 30, 2018, that Steele gave the FBI the Shearer information because he was asked to turn over any intelligence he had about Trump that might corroborate his own reporting.
Steele provided Winer with information from his own Trump investigation. Winer set up a meeting for Steele at the State Department Oct. 11, 2016. He has since left government.
Another question left unanswered by Gowdy is whether the FBI spreadsheet he mentioned was related to the Carter Page surveillance warrants or whether it was part of the investigative file for the Trump-Russia probe in general.
The special counsel’s report all but debunked the dossier’s core claim that the Trump campaign was involved in a “well-developed conspiracy of co-ordination” with the Russian government. The report said prosecutors were unable to establish that a conspiracy occurred.
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