New documents released by the Senate Judiciary Committee show that as early as 2017, even within the FBI, the myth of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was known to be just that.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that the documents released by the Department of Justice show the FBI knowingly went off the rails in its investigation of the Trump campaign and campaign aide Carter Page.
The panel released two documents. One was a heavily redacted interview from February 2017 with an individual who is called the “Primary Subsource” because he fed information to former British spy Christopher Steele. Steele later produced a dossier of innuendo and disproven claims about President Donald Trump.
The second document was an annotated copy of a story from The New York Times about the alleged Trump-Russia collusion in which FBI special agent Peter Strzok, whose antipathy to Trump later came to light, wrote that the newspaper’s claims of collusion were wrong.
#FISA NEW: Declassified FBI records released @LindseyGrahamSC show primary sub-source for Steele dossier cast doubt on most salacious allegations against then candidate Trump during FBI interview late January 2017 – four months before Special Counsel investigation opened… pic.twitter.com/Z21hoVGmMz
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) July 18, 2020
“What have we learned from the release of these two documents by the Department of Justice? Number one, it is clear to me that the memo regarding the FBI interview of the primary sub-source in January 2017 should have required the system to stop and reevaluate the case against Mr. Page,” Graham said in a statement on the committee’s website.
“Most importantly after this interview of the sub-source and the subsequent memo detailing the contents of the interview, it was a miscarriage of justice for the FBI and the Department of Justice to continue to seek a FISA warrant against Carter Page in April and June of 2017.”
Trump Campaign Russia Collusion — Strzok Notes Debunk New York Times Article | National Review https://t.co/cnP8ydnzDM
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 17, 2020
Strzok’s comments “are an admission that there was no reliable evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign was working with Russian intelligence agencies in any form,” Graham said.
“The statements by Mr. Strzok question the entire premise of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and make it even more outrageous that the Mueller team continued this investigation for almost two and a half years. Moreover, the statements by Strzok raise troubling questions as to whether the FBI was impermissibly unmasking and analyzing intelligence gathered on U.S. persons,” he added, referring to the investigation of former special counsel Robert Mueller.
Hillary and the DNC’s dossier was a total fraud.
Obama-Biden knew it was a total fraud.
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) July 17, 2020
The document that recounts the FBI interview with Steele’s primary sub-source “not only demonstrates how unsubstantiated and unreliable the Steele dossier was, it shows that the FBI was on notice of the dossier’s credibility problems and sought two more FISA application renewals after gaining this awareness,” the Senate release read.
The interview showed the FBI that “information that Steele’s primary source provided him was second and third-hand information and rumor at best.”
As of February 2017, as a result of this interview, the FBI knew that the primary sub-source for the dossier “did not recall or did not know where some of the information attributed to him or his sources came from; was never told about or never mentioned to Steele certain information attributed to him or his sources,” according to the release.
The document related to Strzok is an annotated Times article from February 2017. Throughout the piece, Strzok notes the ways in which the Times got the story wrong.
“The document further shows that the FBI’s assertion to the FISA court that ‘the FBI believes that Russia’s efforts to influence U.S. policy were likely being coordinated between the RIS [Russian Intelligence Services] and Page, and possibly others’ appears to be a misrepresentation. This is because, in his comments on the Times article, Strzok asserts that ‘[w]e have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with IOs [Intelligence Officials]. . . . We are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials,'” the release read.
“The document also indicates that the FBI may have been using foreign intelligence gathering techniques to impermissibly unmask and analyze existing and future intelligence collection regarding U.S. persons associated with the Trump campaign.”
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