(CNSNews.com) -- During Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the FBI's spying on the 2016 Trump campaign, Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) confirmed that the discredited and salacious "dossier" on Trump -- paid for by the Democratic National Committee -- was "central" to the FBI's case in obtaining warrants to spy on the Trump campaign and the Trump administration.
Speaking to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Chairman Graham said, “But to get a warrant from a court, you’ve got to have probable cause. So the [FBI] lawyer’s saying, ‘you don’t have it.’ Everybody is now frustrated, folks. That’s not the right answer."
"So [Deputy FBI Director] McCabe suggests – the number two guy at the FBI – ‘well, let’s go look at this Steele dossier. Maybe that will get us over the hump.’ Stay tuned, we’ll talk about that in a minute."
Graham continued, “So on September 19, , for the first time, they introduce the Steele dossier into the [FISA] warrant application process. It worked! September 21, they get a sign-off, let’s go get a warrant."
"The dossier got them to where they wanted to go," said Graham.
“As you say, Mr. Horowitz, it was ‘central’ and basically ‘outcome determinative,'" said the senator. "Without this dossier, they go nowhere. With it, they’re off to the races.”
The dossier was compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, and was filled with salacious and unfounded material designed to discredit Donald Trump. It was paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. The CIA dismissed the dossier as unreliable and "internet rumor."
But the FBI's task force, headed by then Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, decided to use it. The task force did not tell the FISA court that the dossier was paid for by the DNC. Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report shows that the FBI withheld evidence from the FISA court at least 17 times.