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ICYMI: Judiciary Committee Releases Declassified Documents that Substantially Undercut Steele Dossier, Page FISA Warrants

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) last week released two recently declassified documents that significantly undercut the reliability of the Steele dossier and the accuracy and reliability of many of the factual assertions in the Carter Page FISA applications.

  • The Wall Street Journal: “A Senate committee released newly declassified documents that showed the Federal Bureau of Investigation was wary in early 2017 of a dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele that helped stir a narrative, later debunked, that the Trump campaign had close ties to Russian intelligence. The documents released Friday by the Senate Judiciary Committee included FBI notes from three days of interviews with a primary source of Mr. Steele who cast doubt on some of the dossier’s contents. FBI notes from the interview in early 2017 indicated that Mr. Steele’s source had told him information about Mr. Trump’s alleged sexual escapades was “rumor and speculation” that he was unable to confirm.”
  • Politico: “The documents suggest that even as press reports began to describe connections between Americans in Trump’s orbit and figures in Russia’s shadowy intelligence services, the FBI had gathered little, if any, evidence that such ties existed.”
  • Real Clear Investigations: “From the FBI interviews it becomes clear that the Primary Subsource and his friends peddled warmed-over rumors and laughable gossip that Steele dressed up as formal intelligence memos.”
  • The Washington Times: “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham secured the release of two declassified documents Friday from the Justice Department that he says undercut the FBI’s reliance on Christopher Steele’s dossier and exposes how the FBI lacked concrete evidence in its probe against the president’s 2016 campaign.”
  • The National Review: “Former FBI agent Peter Strzok debunked a February 14, 2017, article in The New York Times on possible contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, noting that the agency had seen no evidence of connections between campaign officials and Russian officers.”
  • Washington Examiner: “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham released declassified FBI documents on Friday that appear to undercut the reliability of British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier and the case against one time Trump campaign associate Carter Page…The FBI interviewed Steele’s primary subsource, whose identity remained concealed, in January 2017 over the course of three days, and the newly released 57-page transcript spans a host of topics, shedding light on Steele’s effort to dig up Russia-related dirt on Trump and those in his circle.”
  • Fox News: “The source, according to the committee, told the FBI in interviews in January and March of 2017 that the information contained in the anti-Trump dossier was unreliable…For instance, the source told the FBI he ‘did not recall’ where some of the information attributed to him or his sources came from; was never told about or mentioned to Steele certain information attributed to him or his sources; said that Steele ‘re-characterized’ some of the information to make it more substantiated and ‘less attenuated’ than it really was; and that he would have described some of his sources differently.”
  • The Hill: “Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Friday released two recently declassified documents tied to the years-long Russia probe, including notes suggesting FBI officials were skeptical of reports in early 2017 of contact between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials.”
  • The New York Times: “The documents included an F.B.I. memo recounting a three-day interview in January 2017 with a person who served as a primary source for Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who compiled the dossier for a research firm paid by Democrats. They also included [Peter Strzok’s] notes disputing aspects of a New York Times article the next month… In his annotations about two weeks later, Mr. Strzok questioned the reliability of the dossier. Reacting to a line in the newspaper article that senior F.B.I. officials believed that Mr. Steele had a credible track record, Mr. Strzok wrote in the margins: ‘Recent interviews and investigation, however, reveal Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his subsource network.’ Nevertheless, in the ensuing months, the Justice Department twice sought and obtained a court’s permission to renew a wiretap of the former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, recycling language from earlier applications that relied in part on information from the Steele dossier.”