State Dept., DOJ under growing pressure over pre-FISA memo

by WorldTribune Staff, May 12, 2019

The chairmen of the Senate Judiciary, Homeland Security and Finance committees have written to the Justice and State departments seeking answers about their possible roles in helping ex-British spy Christopher Steele disseminate the unverified anti-Trump “dossier.”

Christopher Steele

The dossier was a key component in the launching of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and its handling by the Department of Justice and the FBI is under review by Attorney General William Barr.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham wrote letters to both the Justice Department inspector general and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Finance Committee chair Charles Grassley and Homeland Security Committee chair Ron Johnson sent their own letters to Pompeo and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The senators were inquiring about news reports that Steele had communicated with  State Department employees about some of his work compiling the Russia “dossier”.

Notes from a meeting between Steele and Kathleen Kavalec, who was then a department official, suggest Steele was intent on getting his information out in the public before the 2016 presidential election, according to The Hill.

Kavalec’s notes suggest Steele had communicated with the press. That, the senators said, would contradict what the FBI had said when it used Steele’s unverified information to help win a FISA warrant against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

“This important information further demonstrates the bias of the primary source of material that was the basis for the Carter Page FISA warrant,” Graham wrote in one of his letters.

Grassley said it is possible that the information Steele compiled was disinformation fed to him by Russian operatives. Steele’s work was funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee through secret payments to a law firm, shielding the work from campaign finance disclosures.

“Much of his dossier is unverified and other parts have been debunked, such as a claim that Moscow had tapes of President Trump before he was a political candidate cavorting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room. The special counsel’s report undercuts that narrative,” Stephan Dinan wrote in a May 10 report for The Washington Times.

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