Former British spy Christopher Steele was informed months after accepting the job to compile a dossier on then-candidate Donald J. Trump that the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee were paying the bills but that’s not what the FBI told the secret FISA court when it sought a warrant to spy on one of Trump’s campaign volunteers.
This bit of explosive information was revealed in an expose on Steele by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer but the implications for the FBI are profound. Why? Because the bureau explicitly stated in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Application to the secret court that Steele was unaware of who backed Fusion GPS, the firm which hired him, for the research.
Steele, however, claimed in the expose titled Christopher Steele, The Man Behind the Trump Dossier that he did know who was paying his bill.
“Under the arrangement, Orbis was a subcontractor working for Fusion GPS, a private research firm in Washington,” according to the article. “Fusion, in turn, had been contracted by a law firm, Perkins Coie, which represented both Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Several months after Steele signed the deal, he learned that, through this chain, his research was being jointly subsidized by the Clinton campaign and the D.N.C. In all, Steele was paid a hundred and sixty-eight thousand dollars for his work.”
In a footnote on the warrant application to the court, the FBI stated that the “identified U.S. Person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia.” Meaning that now embattled Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele to conduct the research, never advised him of who was paying his bill.
The FBI submitted the FISA application on Carter Page, a former volunteer for the Trump campaign, on Oct. 21, 2016. Steele, according to testimony provided by Fusion GPS owner and former Wall Street Journal Reporter Glen Simpson was hired in the Spring of 2016. The New Yorker article also states that Steele was hired in the Spring.
That means that Steele would have known who was paying him by the time he met with the FBI in Italy during the summer of 2016.The FBI submitted the FISA application on Carter Page, a former volunteer for the Trump campaign, on Oct. 21, 2016. Steele, according to testimony provided by Fusion GPS owner and former Wall Street Journal Reporter Glen Simpson was hired in the Spring of 2016. The New Yorker article also states that Steele was hired in the Spring.
Which leads to another question, did Steele lie to the FBI or did the FBI choose not to disclose this information to the secret court?
The FBI did not immediately respond for comment but Page, whom the FBI was spying on, has denied all the accusations made against him the Steele dossier. He has defended himself against those allegations this year as he made rounds on numerous television and cable news shows over the past several weeks.
Page has also filed a number of lawsuits against media organizations, including Buzzfeed for publishing what former FBI Director James Comey said to President Trump in January 2017, when he briefed him was “salacious and unverified.”
Still, the FBI months earlier used the dossier, which they admittedly said was unverified, to get a warrant to spy on Page.
One major accusation in Steele’s dossier accused Page of colluding with Russian businessman Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s state oil company. The dossier, which was based on information from former and current Russian spies, said Sechin offered Page a 19 percent stake in Russia’s oil company in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on his country. Page told me in an earlier interview, as he has told numerous media outlets and Congress, that he never met with Sechin and says the offer to give him roughly $18 billion, a sum of which was 19 percent stake at the time, is laughable and highly improbable.
More problematic for the FBI and DOJ was the fact that both government agencies stonewalled for months turning over documents requested by Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee. Last year, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, requested that the committee see the applications after FBI text messages discovered by the DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz surfaced.
An official investigation into the dossier will lead directly to a scheme to undermine the President of the United States.