On the day that James Comey signed a FISA spy warrant verifying the infamous Steele dossier, the then-FBI director sent an email to the director of national intelligence declaring the bureau could not corroborate the document of salacious claims about Donald Trump.
The Jan. 12, 2017, “smoking gun” email to then-DNI James Clapper was declassified and made public through an open records lawsuit by the Southeastern Legal Foundation, John Solomon of Just the News reported Monday.
Comey’s memo came at a crucial point in the Obama administration’s Trump-Russia collusion probe, called Operation Crossfire Hurricane. The FBI had been informed by the CIA that the target of the FISA warrant — Trump campaign adviser Carter Page — was not a Russian spy, Solomon noted. And the bureau had been warned that the dossier created by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign might have been compromised by Russia disinformation. The FBI also had been warned that the Clinton campaign may have planted the Trump-Russian collusion story to distract from her email scandal. Further, FBI agents had just recommended shutting down the probe of Trumps incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lack of evidence.
In the email, days before Trump’s inauguration, Comey told Clapper, “We are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting.”
Comey said he was worried that it may not be best for the Intelligence Community in its assessment of the Steele dossier to state that the document is reliable.
“I say that because we HAVE concluded that the source is reliable and has a track record with us of reporting reliable information; we have some visibility into his source network, some of which we have determined to be sub-sources in a position to report on such things; and much of what he reports in the current document is consistent with and corroborative of other reporting included in the body of the main IC report,” Comey wrote.
However, he added, “That said, we are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting to include it in the body of the report.”
Comey’s memo came after Clapper had suggested issuing a statement saying the Intelligence Community “has not made any judgment that the information in the [Steele] document is reliable.”
The Justice Department inspector general, Michael Horowitz, later found 17 significant errors in the FBI’s and Justice Department’s handling of the warrants to spy on Page.
The applications for the warrants declared that officials had substantiated claims that Page had met with two sanctioned Russians in 2016 and “had tried to change the GOP platform to help Moscow.”
But to the contrary, Solomon reported, the FBI had intercepted Page denying to an informant that he had met the Russians or been involved in the platform change. The FBI hid those facts from the court.
Kimberly Hermann of the Southeastern Legal Foundation told Just the News the memo “proves what we already suspected – those at the highest levels of our government misled and lied to the court to get permission to spy on the Trump campaign, plain and simple.”
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