Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he is working to declassify a memo regarding an FBI interview conducted with the primary source for Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous anti-Trump dossier.
Graham revealed new details about the memo in an interview with former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy. He said that the document is 40 pages in length and covers information that Steele’s source provided the FBI over the course of three days in January 2017.
The Justice Department’s office of the inspector general revealed in a report released Dec. 9 that the source, who has not been identified, disputed many of Steele’s allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The source told the FBI that Steele misrepresented or embellished the claims by passing off rumor as fact in the 35 page dossier. The inspector general’s report revealed that the FBI failed to disclose the information in two applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s information in applications for the FISAs. The Justice Department deemed two of the four FISA orders against Page to be invalid because of omissions about Steele’s source.
The FBI and Justice Department have remained tight-lipped about the dossier source. The bureau rejected a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Daily Caller News Foundation, saying that the information related to the source remains classified and involves information from a confidential FBI source. (RELATED: FBI Refuses To Disclose Records On Source Who Undermined Steele Dossier)
“There’s a memo about that interview. Horowitz found it — it was 40 pages. My staff has finally gotten a look at it. It’s classified. I’m going to try to get it unclassified,” Graham said Tuesday.
Graham also said that he believes that Russian operatives fed disinformation to Steele, a former MI6 officer who investigated the Trump campaign on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC.
“I believe that the dossier, which was the key component of getting the warrant against Carter Page, was in fact Russian disinformation,” Graham said. “I believe that the FBI was on notice that it was unreliable, continued to use it anyway. I believe that they misled the FISA court.”
The IG report said that the FBI received evidence in January and February 2017 that Russians planted disinformation with Steele. The report also said that the U.S. intelligence community informed the FBI in June 2017 that two Kremlin intelligence operatives knew in July 2016 that Steele was investigating Trump.
Graham told Gowdy he wants to find out whether top FBI officials, including former director James Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe, were aware that Steele’s source disputed aspects of the dossier.
“Is it possible that an interview of that magnitude that basically shredded the key document to get a warrant, that they key people at the top — McCabe and Comey — were never told, ‘Oh, by the way, our entire case has collapsed’?” he said.
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