U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating whether Russian operatives fed disinformation to Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier, according to Attorney General William Barr.
Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, is investigating an Intelligence Community Assessment regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Barr also told The New York Times.
Durham is conducting a sprawling investigation into the origins of the FBI probe of the Trump campaign. He is also reportedly looking at the intelligence-gathering activities of other U.S. agencies in relation to Russia and the campaign. (RELATED: AG Barr: Mueller ‘Ignored’ Evidence Of Russian Disinformation In The Steele Dossier)
Barr was concerned that Steele’s dossier contained Russian disinformation, he’s previously said.
“I think that’s one of the most troubling aspects of this whole thing,” said in an interview on May 8 regarding questions of whether the Russian government duped Steele, a former MI6 officer who investigated the Trump campaign on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC.
Barr said in the interview that special counsel Robert Mueller “ignored” evidence that Russian intelligence operatives might have fed disinformation to Steele. The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Numerous media outlets relied on Steele’s information to promote the theory that the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to influence the election.
Mueller’s investigation all but debunked Steele’s core collusion theory. Prosecutors found no evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Kremlin, Mueller said in a report of his investigation.
A Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report on the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign further undercut Steele’s dossier. The bureau received evidence of disinformation in the dossier in January and February 2017, it stated.
The U.S. intelligence community informed the FBI in June 2017 that two Russian intelligence operatives were aware in July 2016 that Steele was investigating the Trump campaign, according to the IG report.
“The possibility that the Russian government intentionally seeded the dossier with misinformation was one of the issues Mueller ignored and Durham was looking at, Barr said,” TheNYT reported.
Durham is examining an assessment from the U.S. intelligence community regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, Barr added. An Intelligence Community Assessment released on Jan. 6, 2017, said that the Russian government meddled in the election specifically to help Donald Trump.
Russia “definitely” interfered in the election, Barr said.
He added that Durham “is looking at the intelligence community’s I.C.A. — the report that they did in December.”
“And he’s sort of examining all the information that was based on, the basis for their conclusions. So to that extent, I still have an open mind, depending on what he finds.”
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