WASHINGTON – In letters sent yesterday to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are highlighting concerns regarding the FBI’s possible awareness of political motivations behind the Steele dossier ahead of FISA applications that were used to surveil members of the Trump campaign, during the 2016 election . The senators are requesting notes, memos, and other information related to an October 2016 meeting between Christopher Steele and State Department–information that was reportedly referred to the FBI, possibly before the FISA applications.
“We write today seeking information about Christopher Steele’s interactions with State Department employees before the 2016 presidential election. We understand that State Department employees received unverified memoranda Steele authored about candidate Trump and Russia (commonly referred to as the Steele dossier) in the summer of 2016, met with Steele and one of his colleagues in October 2016, documented that October meeting and topics discussed therein, and referred the information to the FBI. We seek all material related to those incidents along with an explanation of when the State Department provided it to the FBI,” the senators wrote.
“Based on the publicly-released version of the typed notes of the meeting, it appears Steele’s intent of the meeting with the State Department was to maximize the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign. Further, if that information was included in the material submitted to the FBI, then the FBI may have been aware of Steele’s political motivations before submitting any FISA application.”
The Chairmen recently raised questions about any FBI awareness of leaks to the media and possible efforts to use briefings with the Trump transition team as covert intelligence gathering operations.
Chairmen Johnson and Grassley’s letters to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are here and here.