(CNSNews.com) – Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding that his agency turn over all records of its reported plan to pay the British ex-spy -- who compiled a salacious and unsubstantiated dossier on Donald Trump just prior to the election – to continue investigating the president.
The “Russia Dossier,” which claimed that Trump engaged in perverted sex acts in a Moscow hotel and allegedly was in collusion with the Russians, was published by the online site Buzzfeed. The disturbing allegations in the document were not substantiated. Famed author and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward called the dossier a “garbage document.”
In his letter to FBI Director Comey, Chairman Grassley notes that the Washington Post “reported that the FBI reached an agreement a few weeks before the Presidential election to pay the author of the unsubstantiated dossier alleging a conspiracy between President Trump and the Russians, Christopher Steele, to continue investigating Mr. Trump.”
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary
“The article claimed that the FBI was aware Mr. Steele was creating these memos as part of the work for an opposition research firm connected to Hillary Clinton,” said Grassley.
“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” said Grassley.
“It is additionally troubling,” he said, “that the FBI reportedly agreed to such an arrangement given that, in January of 2017, then-Director Clapper issued a statement stating that ‘the IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.”
The FBI’s alleged plan to pay Steele for more information fell through when the “Russia dossier” was published and Steele’s identity became public, report The Post.
Among the documents being sought from the FBI by Sen. Grassley include the following:
- All FBI records relating to the agreement with Mr. Steele regarding his investigation of President Trump and his associates, including the agreement itself, all drafts, all internal FBI communications about the agreement, all FBI communications with Mr. Steele about the agreement, all FBI requests for authorization for the agreement, and all records documenting the approval of the agreement.
- Were any other government officials outside of the FBI involved in discussing or authorizing the agreement with Mr. Steele, including anyone from the Department of Justice or the Obama White House? If so, please explain who was involved and provide all related records.
- How did the FBI first obtain Mr. Steele’s Trump investigation memos? Has the FBI obtained additional memos from this same source that were not published by Buzzfeed? If so, please provide copies.
- Has the FBI verified or corroborated any of the allegations made in the memos? Were any allegations or other information from the memo included in any documents created by the FBI, or which the FBI helped to create, without having been independently verified or corroborated by the FBI beforehand? If so, why?
- Has the FBI relied on or otherwise referenced the memos or any information in the memos in seeking a FISA warrant, other search warrant, or any other judicial process? Did the FBI rely on or otherwise reference the memos in relation to any National Security Letters? If so, please include copies of all relevant applications and other documents.
- Who decided to include the memos in the briefings received by Presidents Obama and Trump? What was the basis for that decision?
- Given the inflammatory nature of the allegations in Mr. Steele’s dossier, if the FBI is undertaking or has undertaken any investigation of the claims, will you please inform the Committee at the conclusion of any such investigations as to what information the investigations discovered and what conclusions the FBI reached?
- Simply put, when allegations like these are put into the public domain prior to any FBI assessment of their reliability, then if subsequent FBI investigation of the allegations finds them false, unsupported, or unreliable, the FBI should make those rebuttals public.
Grassley’s letter calls on the FBI to respond by March 20, 2017.