By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said during an interview on Sean Hannity’s radio program Friday that U.S. officials were told perhaps a half-dozen times that former British spy Christopher Steele, author of the infamous ‘Russia dossier,’ was not a credible source of information.
Nevertheless, the FBI under then-Director James Comey reportedly used the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants to spy on 2016 Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“There’s four events that I’m aware of, five actually, where the system was informed that Christopher Steele was an unreliable informant when it came to Trump,” Graham told Hannity.
“Some of them I can’t tell you yet until we get this stuff declassified. But I think it’s going to be five; it may be six,” the South Carolina Republican added.
Republicans have accused Comey and his FBI of portraying the dossier as legitimate intelligence that had been vetted and verified before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to obtain the original surveillance warrant and subsequent renewals.
As The National Sentinel reported in January, former top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr warned FBI officials that Steele’s dossier could not be trusted because it was likely biased.
The Hill‘s John Solomon reported that Ohr, whose wife Nellie Ohr worked at Fusion when the dossier was being commissioned and produced, “briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.”
The briefings came in July and August 2016, Solomon noted, and included the FBI deputy director (Andrew McCabe at the time), a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and a Justice Department official later would become special counsel Robert Mueller’s top deputy.
But Ohr’s warnings about political bias in the dossier were conspicuously absent some weeks later when, in September, the FBI filed for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant with the secretive FISA court, which gave agents permission to begin spying on the 2016 Trump campaign for alleged “Russian collusion” to steal the election, notes Solomon, who added:
Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before Election Day.
They also contradict a key argument that House Democrats have made in their formal intelligence conclusions about the Russia case.
As The National Sentinel noted in August 2018, during an interview with Fox News‘ Martha McCallum, Rep. John Radcliff, R-Texas, a former U.S. attorney, said that he had personally viewed the unredacted copies of the Justice Department’s FISA warrant applications, but that none of them mention Ohr and his wife Nellie Ohr.
We reported further:
Radcliff said none of the four FISA applications signed by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andy McCabe and current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein mentioned the Ohr’s, and that their names were purposely withheld from the FISA court, a major violation of the law.
Solomon notes that a redacted version of a FISA application released last year does not mention Clinton or the Democratic National Committee, which also helped finance the dossier.
The FBI claimed it was “unaware of any derogatory information” about Steele, that he was “never advised … as to the motivation behind the research” but that the bureau nonetheless “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report undercut the dossier, which alleged that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation” between the Trump campaign and Russian government to influence the 2016 election.
The report said there was no evidence of a conspiracy or that any Trump associates acted as agents of Russia.
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