If you’ve been wondering whatever happened to the Trump-Russia dossier affair…why it was summarily “tabled” without so much as an apology to the Trump family for its incendiary comments and blatantly false claims, you’re not alone.
It is also “highly suspect” that Senator John McCain, who has been predominantly alone in his petulant and constant criticism of the president, has never truly apologized for his role in the colossal blunder of passing this dossier on to federal authorities.
It’s all fine and good if you believe something to be so important to the integrity of a government official that it requires special attention by the FBI. Yet when that information turns out to leave egg on your face, wouldn’t you feel compelled to make a public apology to the man you attempted to undermine?
The Senate Judiciary Committee has not forgotten about this issue either. In fact, Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), Chairmain of the Committee, has been working tirelessly for many months on this case and its inter-related intricacies with complications affecting other government departmental offices.
Just days ago, the Judiciary Committee produced a series of letters to finally attempt to get some answers in this case. The two most interesting letters so far, one to FBI Director James B. Comey, Jr. (dated April 28th), and the other to Department of Justice Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente (dated March 31st), are laying out the case for why this dossier and its major players somehow evaded the normal investigative procedures for determining validity of such claims and exactly what was done on their offices’ behalves to get to the bottom of these stories.
This article is dealing with the most recent of the two letters, to Director Comey.
Senator Grassley sets the table as to why this information is being requested in an exhaustive account of the Trump dossier case.
“On March 6, 2017, I wrote to you requesting information about the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Christopher Steele, the author of the political opposition research dossier alleging collusion between associates of Mr. Trump and the Russian government. Although that letter asked for a response by March 20, the FBI has failed to provide one.”
Then the Committee Chairman arrives at the meat of the matter.
There appear to be material inconsistencies between the description of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele that you did provide in your briefing and information contained in Justice Department documents made available to the Committee only after the briefing. Whether those inconsistencies were honest mistakes or an attempt to downplay the actual extent of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, it is essential that the FBI fully answer all of the questions from the March 6 letter and provide all the requested documents in order to resolve these and related issues.
Then, the lead-up to the hard-hitting questions:
Also, more information has since come to the Committee’s attention about the company overseeing the creation of the dossier, Fusion GPS. Namely, Fusion GPS is the subject of a complaint to the Justice Department, which alleges that the company violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by working on behalf of Russian principals to undermine U.S. sanctions against Russians. That unregistered work was reportedly conducted with a former Russian intelligence operative, Mr. Rinat Akhmetshin, and appears to have been occurring simultaneous to Fusion GPS’s work overseeing the creation of the dossier. I wrote to the Justice Department about this issue on March 31, copying you, and I have attached that letter here for your reference. The Justice Department has yet to respond.
In addition to fully answering my March 6, 2017 letter, please also provide the following documents and information:
Documentation of all payments made to Mr. Steele, including for travel expenses, if any; the date of any such payments; the amount of such payments; the authorization for such payments.
When the FBI was in contact with Mr. Steele or otherwise relying on information in the dossier, was it aware that his employer, Fusion GPS, was allegedly simultaneously working as an unregistered agent for Russian interests? Please provide all related documents.
If so, when and how did FBI become aware of this information? Did it include this information about Fusion GPS’s alleged work for Russian principals in any documents describing or relying on information from the dossier? If not, why not?
If the FBI was previously unaware of Fusion GPS’s alleged unregistered activity on behalf of Russian interests and connections with a former Russian intelligence operative, does the FBI plan to amend any applications, reports, or other documents it has created that describe or rely on the information in the dossier to add this information? If so, please provide copies of all amended documents. If not, why not?
The tone of the letter seems to infer that the Bureau has been instrumental in “dragging its heels” on this investigation by the Judiciary Committee. Why? Well, it’s obvious that they are either that incompetent as to have been fooled by this obvious straw-man of a document and are embarrassed (not in the least likely) or they have been cornered after a gargantuan internal scandal which attempted to character-assassinate Donald Trump, knowing full well that his election victory spelled massive trouble for the Establishmentarians.
Which is more likely?
Stay tuned for Part Two.