Republicans to grill FBI chief Wray as he meets behind closed doors with House intel panel
One area of planned inquiry is determining when the FBI learned that a Hillary Clinton-supporting PR executive had fed Trump dirt to the Steele dossier, information that was concealed from Congress.
FBI Director Chris Wray is meeting behind closed doors Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee amidst a tumultuous time for the nation's premier law enforcement agency, and some lawmakers are making clear they want answers to tough questions.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the panel's former chairman and its current ranking member, sent a pointed letter to Wray on Monday outlining the topics minority Republicans want to discuss, including how many informants the FBI was using in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and why the FBI raided the home of conservative journalist James O'Keefe.
Nunes' letter also makes clear there will be questions about Special Counsel John Durham's ongoing investigation into the now-discredited TrumpRussia collusion allegations.
Durham recently secured a grand jury indictment against the primary source for Christopher Steele's dossier, used to secure FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. The charges accused Igor Danchenko of lying five times to FBI agents about where he got information he gave Steele to put in the dossier.
The court filing included a bombshell revelation that some of the information in Steele's dossier came from a Hillary Clinton-supporting PR executive named Charles Dolan Jr.
It's been known for some time now that Steele's dossier was funded by Clinton's campaign, managed by her law firm and its unsubstantiated allegations spread by her campaign apparatus to the FBI and news media.
But the revelation that Dolan, a volunteer for her campaign, provided information to Danchenko that was treated as intelligence inside the Steele dossier roiled Washington, in part because congressional investigators were never told of the connection during their earlier Russia collusion probes, according to Nunes' former chief investigator, Kash Patel.
"Devin and I ran an investigation where we thought, and we said publicly, that the FBI and the DOJ ... are not providing Congress with the documentation," Patel told Just the News last week in an interview with the John Solomon Reports podcast. "We subpoenaed lawfully, they defied congressional subpoenas, and we felt we only got 60-70% of the actual information and they blocked the rest with their deep-state cronies because they were embarrassed of the actions of the select few in the FBI and DOJ.
"Fast forward to John Durham. Here's the thing, John, I had never heard — me, Kash Patel, lead Russiagate investigator — had never, ever heard of the name Charles Dolan until John Durham indicted Danchenko."
Beyond the Durham-Danchenko-Dolan intrigue, Republicans were preparing to press Wray on a variety of other matters. Here are some of the topics Nunes identified in his letter:
- The FBI's assessments of Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik, who has been indicted in the Russia case and portrayed in some reports as a Russian spy (which he denies) but was granted extensive access as an intelligence source at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine during the Obama-Biden years.
- Reforms needed to prevent FBI investigations from aiding and abetting political misinformation campaigns, such as occurred in the Russia collusion probeFBI's handling of confidential human sources, including whether such informants were employed during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
- Systemic problems identified by DOJ's chief watchdog in the bureau's execution of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.
- The latest counterintelligence threats associated with China.
- The FBI's "use of National Intelligence Program (NIP) funding and personnel for domestic activities unrelated to the conduct of foreign intelligence, and the impact this has had on FBI's duty to combat threats from China and other foreign adversaries."
- Whether the FBI has used any NIP-funded personnel or capabilities in relation to Attorney General Merrick Garland's Oct. 4 memorandum concerning alleged threats to public school boards and other personnel.
- The FBI's recent raids on the homes of reporters associated with Project Veritas, including media leaks associated with those raids, and the FBI's commitment to preserving First Amendment protections. (The ACLU over the weekend said it was deeply troubled by the FBI's precedent in that case involving O'Keefe.)
Nunes said he gave the topics in advance to the FBI chief "to ensure you were adequately prepared to fully answer our questions" because "Committee Republicans have a responsibility to obtain full answers to these questions."