Trump declassifying trove of FBI memos exposing Steele's motivations, ties to impeachment witness
Once-secret documents will show Steele told FBI he leaked Russia collusion narrative to counteract Clinton email scandal.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Delivering in his final days on one of his last unfulfilled promises, President Trump is declassifying a massive trove of FBI documents showing the Russia collusion story was leaked in the final weeks of the 2016 election in an effort to counteract Hillary Clinton's email scandal.
The memos to be released as early as Friday include FBI interviews and human source evaluation reports for two of the main informants in the Russia case, former MI6 agent Christopher Steele and academic Stefan Halper.
The president authorized the release of a foot-high stack of internal FBI and DOJ documents that detail significant flaws in the investigation and provide a detailed timeline of when the FBI first realized the Steele dossier was problematic, multiple government officials told Just the News.
Among the bombshell revelations is an admission by Steele that he violated his confidential human source agreement with the FBI and leaked information from his dossier to the news media in the final weeks of the election because he wanted to counteract new revelations in the Hillary Clinton email scandal that were hurting her election efforts. The former foreign intelligence officer made the confession in a fall 2017 interview with agents.
Steele, who was hired by Clinton's campaign law firm to compile anti-Trump dossiers attempting to link Trump to Russian influence, told agents he had two clients at the time — Clinton and the FBI — and chose the interests of the Democratic candidate over the bureau in leaking.
Steele told the bureau that then-FBI Director James Comey's decision to reopen the Clinton email probe in fall 2016 triggered him to leak his dossier details in what he described as a taking-the-gloves-off moment.
The FBI interview summary makes clear that Steele, a British citizen, was allegiant to Clinton, did not like Trump and believed a Trump presidency would be negative for his homeland and thus made a decision to meddle in the U.S. election by leaking information to the news media.
The leaks, which led to Steele's termination as an FBI informant, have been known for more than a year, but his motivation for leaking was hidden in the classified documents.
His admission that the Russia collusion narrative, later debunked by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was injected into the public as a means of counteracting Clinton's email scandal corroborates other information obtained by the CIA.
Late last year, the Trump administration declassified evidence showing the CIA warned President Obama and the FBI that it had intercepted intelligence indicating Hillary Clinton had personally ordered up an operation to "vilify" Trump with a false story of collusion as a means of distracting from the negative publicity of her email scandal.
Multiple investigations have concluded that much of Steele's dossier was debunked or never corroborated by the FBI and likely contained Russian disinformation planted with his sources.
The probes found the FBI wrongly continued to rely on the allegations of Russia collusion to target Trump campaign figures for investigation and failed to disclose major flaws in their investigations to the courts that had authorized surveillance warrants.
The investigation also found that Steele's primary source of Russian intel later disowned or distanced himself from the claims attributed to him in the Steele dossier and that U.S. intelligence had concerns the source was tied to Russian intelligence.
The soon-to-be-released records also expose a tantalizing connection between Steele, his primary source and one of the Democrats' key impeachment witnesses in the Ukraine scandal, former Trump National Security Council Russia expert Fiona Hill.
Steele divulged to the FBI that he was introduced by Hill to his primary sub-source of information for his anti-Trump dossier and that he later told Hill that the source had provided information for his now infamous memos.
The documents also will settle a long-debated question in Washington about whether the FBI's tactics amounted to spying on the Trump campaign.
Tasking instructions the FBI gave to Halper, an academic who long worked as an FBI informant, make clear he was instructed to infiltrate the Trump campaign by posing as someone who wanted to work for the GOP nominee and then targeting campaign advisers to find out what they knew about Trump or his campaign's ties to Russia.
Halper was specifically instructed by the FBI to focus on campaign advisers Sam Clovis, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, in some cases recording some of their conversations, the records are expected to show.
In her impeachment testimony in 2019, Hill acknowledged she knew Steele since 2006 when he worked for MI6 and she worked for the Bush administration.
She, however, did not make any mention of introducing Steele’s primary subsource and in fact expressed her own doubts about the Steele dossier, suggesting it could very well have been Russian disinformation.
She said she held “misgivings and concern that he could have been played” by the Russians because they “would have an ax to grind against him given the job that he had previously.”
“I don’t believe it’s appropriate for him to have been hired to do this,” she testified about Steele. “I almost fell over when I discovered that he was doing this report.”
News, not Noise
- Rep. Brian Babin accuses White House press secretary of lying about 51 migrant deaths
- Jan. 6 panel effort to blame Trump for violence ignores pointed warnings Congress got much earlier
- Trump wins big in Illinois primaries, New York GOP picks Zeldin over Giuliani
- Energy Secretary Granholm violated Hatch Act by encouraging votes for Democrats during interview
- Montana leads nation in gun ownership rate