One of the deepest, darkest secrets of Russiagate soon may be unmasked. Even President Trump may be surprised.
Multiple witnesses have told Congress that, a week before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, Britain’s top national security official sent a private communique to the incoming administration, addressing his country’s participation in the counterintelligence probe into the now-debunked Trump-Russia election collusion.
Most significantly, then-British national security adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant claimed in the memo, hand-delivered to incoming U.S. national security adviser Mike Flynn’s team, that the British government lacked confidence in the credibility of former MI6 spy Christopher Steele’s Russia collusion evidence, according to congressional investigators who interviewed witnesses familiar with the memo.
Steele, of course, was the political opposition researcher-turned-FBI informant whose dossier the FBI and Obama Justice Department used to justify spying on the Trump campaign in the final days of the 2016 election cycle. The dossier was funded by Fusion GPS, a research firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Congressional investigators have interviewed two U.S. officials who handled the memo, confirmed with the British government that a communique was sent and alerted the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the information. One witness confirmed to Congress that he was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller about the memo.
Now the race is on to locate the document in U.S. intelligence archives to see if the witnesses’ recollections are correct. And Trump is headed to Britain this weekend, where he might just get a chance to ask his own questions.
“A whistleblower recently revealed the existence of a communique from our allies in Great Britain during the early days of the Russia collusion investigation,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told me.
“Based on my conversations with that individual, and the credible timelines that are supported by other events, I made a referral to Attorney General William Barr and Inspector General Michael Horowitz for further investigation,” he added. “There now is overwhelming evidence to suggest that on multiple occasions the FBI was warned that Christopher Steele and the dossier had severe credibility issues.”
The revelation of a possible warning from the British government about Steele surfaces less than a month after a long-concealed document was made public, showing that a State Department official in October 2016 met with Steele and took notes that raised concerns about the accuracy of some information he provided.
Those notes, as I have written, quoted the British operative as saying he had a political deadline of Election Day to make his information public and that he was leaking to the news media — two claims that would weigh against his credibility as an FBI informant. They also flagged a piece of demonstrably false intelligence he provided.
The British Embassy in Washington did not return a call or email seeking comment. Grant, who left his post in April 2017, did not respond to a request for comment at the university where he works. His former top deputy, Paddy McGuinness, declined comment.
Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, also did not return a call, email and text seeking comment.
A source familiar with Flynn’s account, however, told me the former Trump national security adviser has no recollection of receiving the British communique or what might have happened to it, meaning that President Trump likely was not told about it.
Flynn first heard about the memo when Mueller’s team questioned him about it last year during debriefings after reaching a plea bargain on a charge of making false statements to the FBI and a cooperation agreement with the special prosecutor, the source said.
Mueller’s team apparently learned about the memo from some of Flynn’s former national security team members, the source said.
Congressional investigators say one former Flynn team member approached them recently as a whistleblower and disclosed the existence of the communique because the person believed it was relevant to the ongoing review of the FBI and intelligence community’s conduct in the Russia probe.
The whistleblower told Congress he personally delivered the memo to Flynn on Jan. 12, 2017, was aware of its content about Steele and later ensured the document was sent for preservation in the national security archives of the Trump transition team, the investigators say. The whistleblower also claimed to overhear Flynn’s team discussing the memo.
England CYA for participating.
So, not only did investigators not bother trying to verify any of the Steele memos but they willfully ignored suspicions that the information was flawed.
I wonder why Mueller didn’t unearth that and pursue it?
@Deplorable Me: Muellers directives only covered Trump and his campaign team, every case he investigated was handed to him on a silver platter not through any team or personal discovery. If he just happened to discover something with the DNC they didnt “intend” any criminal behavior.
@kitt: Yeah, I realize he couldn’t investigate anything Schiff didn’t direct him to.