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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Sunday, March 1, 2020
FBI IGNORED Court Declarations from ANTI-Trump Dossier Creator in Writing Last WIRETAP Warrants
Anti-Trump dossier creator to stand trial
Dossier creator Christopher Steele is scheduled to stand trial in mid-May in a defamation case whose 2017 court records were ignored by FBI agents as they wrote the last of four dossier-based wiretap warrants on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page in June of that year.
Mr. Steele filed his first sworn declaration in a London court on April 3, 2017, admitting that one of his 17 memos — though not on Mr. Page — was “unsolicited” and “raw” intelligence.
The Washington Times first disclosed the document on April 25, 2017. Republicans later told the Justice Department the filing should have set off alarm bells about Mr. Steele’s credibility, given his admission he had accepted gossip.
Mr. Horowitz disclosed in his Dec. 9 report that the FBI showed no interest in acquiring records from Mr. Steele’s court case as the bureau aggressively surveilled Mr. Page, an informal Trump campaign adviser, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA.)
Mr. Horowitz said that although there had been “open source reporting … We found no evidence that the FBI made any attempts in May or June 2017 to obtain the filings to assist a determination of whether to change the FBI’s assessment …”
What’s more, the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) made the unilateral decision to ignore Mr. Steele’s April 3 filing.
“The OGC unit chief’s notes suggest that on May 1, without consulting [Justice], and relying only upon open source reporting concerning the filings, the FBI decided that Steele’s April 3, 2017 sworn statement in the foreign litigation did not warrant any changes to renewal application No. 3,” the Horowitz report said.
In all, Mr. Horowitz found that the FBI made 17 significant inaccuracies or omissions of exculpatory evidence when agents fed information to the Justice Department’s Office of Intelligence. It screened the evidence and wrote the four Page affidavits from October 2016 to June 2017.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in March 2019 said he didn’t establish that Mr. Page coordinated with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.
Mr. Steele’s court flings came in the case of Russian computer entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev. He filed a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Steele and his Orbis Business Intelligence almost immediately after BuzzFeed published the 35-page dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.
The last of Mr. Steele’s 17 dossier memos accused Mr. Gubarev of hacking Democratic Party computers under pressure from Russian intelligence.
Mr. Gubarev, a Cyprus resident, immediately denied the allegation.
The Mueller report does not mention Mr. Gubarev. The report said the hacking was exclusively carried out by the Russian military.
Val Gurvits, Mr. Gubarev’s U.S. attorney, told The Washington Times that a London trial date is tentatively set for May 15.
“The defendants have done everything possible to delay the inevitable,” Mr. Gurvits said.
Subsequent to the April 3 filing, Mr. Steele signed a second declaration in May 2017 spelling out how he came to Washington and briefed a number of journalists on Trump allegations in September 2016.
His dossier accused President Trump of heading a far-reaching conspiracy with the Kremlin to interfere in the election. Mr. Mueller found no such conspiracy, and no Trump associate was charged in such a plot.
Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina wrote a letter to the Justice Department in early 2018 accusing Mr. Steele of lying to the FBI about not having press contacts.
The senators said that the Steele memo about Mr. Gubarev was relevant to the Page affidavits because it showed that the British ex-spy deals with unsolicited, raw intelligence.
In the face of Mr. Steele’s court declarations, the Horowitz report said, the FBI continued to assess his information as “reliable.”
Mr. Steele says his main source never made such statements to him, and he credits his dossier with revealing Russian election meddling.
Mr. Horowitz said that, in the end, the FBI gave Mr. Steele low marks: “Much of the material in the Steele election reports, including allegations about Donald Trump and members of the Trump campaign relied upon in the Carter Page FISA applications, could not be corroborated: that certain allegations were inaccurate or inconsistent with information gathered by the [FBI]; and that the limited information that was corroborated related to time, location and title information, much of which was publicly available.”