Former British spy and virulent Trump-hater Christopher Steele is not cooperating with the Department of Justice’s Independent Counsel.
Steele, you may remember, is the author of the “salacious and unverified” dossier used as the basis for the Obama administration to execute a massive, civil liberty-busting investigation that spied on the Trump presidential campaign. Steele was paid by the former muckrakers at Fusion GPS, who in turn were paid by law firm Perkins Coie, who in turn, was shielding their clients, the DNC and Hillary Clinton, from reporting the transaction on their campaign disclosures. Steele was also paid by the FBI but fired after he was caught leaking to the media, however he continued to feed information to the FBI, via FBI agent Bruce Ohr, who is married to a Fusion GPS employee working on the anti-Trump campaign.
That’s a mouth full. But Steele is deeply involved in this affair.
Steele declined the inspector general’s request on the grounds that it would be improper for him to take part “in an internal Justice Department investigation as a foreign national and former British intelligence agent,” Politico reported Wednesday.
The explanation is somewhat ironic given that Steele, a former MI6 officer, provided his anti-Trump research to the FBI as well as to Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official.
That didn’t stop him “as a foreign national and former British spy” from involving himself in a United States election, did it?
The Inspector General Michael Horowitz is investigating the circumstances surrounding the dossier’s use in the FISA process, so he wants to talk to Steele who created it.
Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, opened an investigation on March 28, 2018 into whether the FBI abused the FISA by relying on Steele’s dossier to obtain spy warrants against Page. Horowitz’s investigation is expected to wrap up in May or June, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Horowitz is also taking a hard look at Steele’s previous work as a confidential FBI informant, according to Politico. The DOJ watchdog has already concluded that Steele oversold his contribution to an investigation into a FIFA bribery scandal, according to the report.
None of Steele’s most serious allegations have been verified in the 27 months since BuzzFeed published the dossier. Some, such as the claim that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen visited Prague to meet with Kremlin insiders, have come under intense scrutiny. Cohen told Congress on Feb. 27 that he has never visited Prague.
Horowitz is also scrutinizing Steele’s links to Ohr, the Justice Department official. Ohr and Steele met in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2016. Ohr became Steele’s handler shortly after the 2016 election. The FBI had cut ties with Steele after finding out he had unauthorized contacts with the media.
In testimony last week, Attorney General William Barr told the Senate that he would be reviewing the investigations originating processes, including Steele’s work product.
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