Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and ranking member of its Subcommittee on Government Operations, told The Hill’s John Soloman late Thursday that a memo containing a confession by FBI informant Christopher Steele that his materials contained disinformation was obtained by the FBI well before they sought a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, yet the FBI proceeded to use the dossier anyway.
“[O]fficials at the FBI and (Department of Justice) DOJ were well aware the dossier was a lie — from very early on in the process all the way to when they made the conscious decision to include it in a FISA application,” Meadows said Tuesday in a statement to The Hill’s John Solomon. “The fact that Christopher Steele and his partisan research document were treated in any way seriously by our Intelligence Community leaders amounts to malpractice.”
Meadows’ statement came in response to a federal document recently unveiled by a Citizens United lawsuit — an email from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec, who met with Steele in October 2016 and recounted his desire to spread the lurid allegations of his since-debunked dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump. Solomon wrote on Tuesday:
Kavalec’s written account of her Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with FBI informant Christopher Steele shows the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded British intelligence operative admitted that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline.
And that confession occurred 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s now-discredited dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the campaign’s ties to Russia.
Steele’s client “is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” the date of the 2016 election, Kavalec wrote in a typed summary of her meeting with Steele and Tatyana Duran, a colleague from Steele’s Orbis Security firm. The memos were unearthed a few days ago through open-records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United. [emphasis added]
Solomon followed up on that report Thursday with another detail from the document — which FBI Director Christopher Wray has redacted all but three sentences of until the end of 2041. He writes that her memo makes it clear Steele “was political, inaccurate, spinning wild theories, and talking to the media,” even getting basic facts wrong about Russia’s diplomatic presence in the U.S.:
[T]he FBI swore on Oct. 21, 2016, to the FISA judges that Steele’s “reporting has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings” and the FBI has determined him to be “reliable”… [Yet Kavalec] quoted Steele as saying, “Payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian Consulate in Miami,” according to a copy of her summary memo obtained under open records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United. Kavalec bluntly debunked that assertion in a bracketed comment: “It is important to note that there is no Russian consulate in Miami.”
Kavalec alerted federal officials to these plans by Steele, a foreign national, to interfere with the presidential election, ten days before the FBI applied in a FISA court for a warrant to surveil the Trump campaign.