- FBI investigators maintained a spreadsheet that kept track of individual allegations made in the infamous Steele dossier.
- The spreadsheet reportedly noted many of the allegations were either inaccurate or unverified.
- Former Rep. Trey Gowdy has previously alluded to the spreadsheet, saying it showed the FBI also used a longtime Hillary Clinton ally to corroborate some of the dossier’s claims.
Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy revealed in an interview that the FBI maintained a spreadsheet on which it kept track of the allegations made by former British spy Christopher Steele in his infamous dossier.
According to Gowdy, the spreadsheet laid out every assertion made in Steele’s 17 memos, with any evidence uncovered to support or rule out each claim.
Gowdy said the spreadsheet included links to news reports to corroborate some of Steele’s allegations. The spreadsheet also included a reference to Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Hillary Clinton fixer who was involved in spreading a second dossier alleging various misdeeds by Donald Trump.
Gowdy, who sat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Blumenthal’s presence on the spreadsheet posed a problem given his history of spreading conspiracy theories, as well as his links to the Clintons. (RELATED: Gowdy: FBI Cited News Articles And Info From Clinton Ally To Corroborate Steele Dossier)
“I’ve seen the spreadsheet,” Gowdy told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum in a May 15 interview.
“I have seen each factual assertion listed in that dossier, and then I’ve seen the FBI’s justification. And when you’re citing newspaper articles as corroboration for a factual assertion that you have made, you don’t need an FBI agent to go do a Google search.”
“When the name Sidney Blumenthal is included as part of your corroboration, and when you’re the world’s leading law enforcement agency, you have a problem.”
More details of the mysterious FBI document have emerged.
The Hill’s John Solomon reported that the bureau noted on the spreadsheet that the vast majority of Steele’s assertions were either inaccurate or unverified. Other information in the dossier was based on open-source research.
“The spreadsheet was a sea of blanks, meaning most claims couldn’t be corroborated, and those things that were found in classified intelligence suggested Steele’s intelligence was partly or totally inaccurate on several claims,” one source told Solomon.
The questions that remains unanswered are when the FBI determined that some of Steele’s allegations were false, and whether investigators notified the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) about any inaccuracies in Steele’s reporting.
The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s report in four applications for wiretap warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Republicans and the Justice Department’s inspector general have been investigating whether the FBI misled or withheld information related to the dossier from the FISC.
As part of its process to obtain the wiretap warrants, the FBI and Justice Department would have created what’s known as a Woods file laying out the evidence to back up each claim made in the warrant application. The spreadsheet is believed to be a separate document that the FBI used as part of its larger counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.
The spreadsheet indicated the FBI could not verify a key claim made by Steele that the FBI cited in its warrant applications, according to The Hill.
Steele, who was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC, alleged Page met secretly during a July 2016 trip to Moscow with two Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin. Steele said Page and the Russians discussed exchanging compromising information on Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Steele also linked Page to a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation” between the Trump campaign and Russia. According to Steele, it was Page’s idea to release emails that Russians stolen from the DNC through WikiLeaks.
Page has vehemently denied all of the allegations.
The special counsel’s report poured cold water on many of those claims, and others made by Steele. The report said prosecutors did not establish the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. No Trump associates, including Page, were found to have acted as agents of the Russian government. The report also undercut the dossier’s claim that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague to scheme with Russians in August 2016.
Investigators in both Congress and the Justice Department are trying to figure out how inaccurate information made its way into the dossier. One theory is that Russian operatives planted disinformation with Steele, a former MI6 officer, in hopes of smearing Trump.
The New York Times has also reported that the FBI questioned the reliability of one of Steele’s main sources after interviewing him in January 2017, which was the same month that BuzzFeed News published the dossier in full.
The FBI believed the source — who is a Russian speaker living in the West — may have embellished information that ended up in the dossier, according to the Times.
Steele, who operates a private intelligence firm in London, was interviewed in June by the Justice Department inspector general. Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, told Congress in a letter June 25 that his investigation has ended, and that a report is being drafted. Horowitz said his office conducted more than 100 interviews and reviewed more than 1 million documents in the investigation.
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