Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is heading up a congressional inquiry to the FBI’s relationship with a former British spy who gained notoriety last year as the author of the infamous “Russian dossier” report published by BuzzFeed.
Ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele authored the report while working with Republicans, and later Democrats, who wanted to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. According to a report from the Washington Post last month, Steele ultimately turned his memos over to the FBI, and they in turn began working with the former spy.
The Post, at the time, said that news of the working arrangement gave the dossier extra credibility.
“While Trump has derided the dossier as ‘fake news’ compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with Steele shows that the bureau considered him credible and found his information, while unproved, to be worthy of further investigation,” they reported.
Sen. Grassley, however, wrote Monday that the relationship only inspired serious questions about the impartiality of the FBI.
“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote in his letter to the Bureau.
The senator went further, saying that news of the arrangement was especially disconcerting given the intelligence community’s assessment of the documents.
“It is additionally troubling that the FBI reportedly agreed to such an arrangement given that, in January of 2017, then-Director Clapper issued a statement stating that ‘the [intelligence community] has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions,’” he wrote.
Grassley is asking for the FBI to turn over all records pertaining to Steele’s investigation, his working relationship with the Bureau, and whether or not they relied on his information to secure warrants against Trump or his associates.
Thus begins the next sordid chapter in this ever-unfolding tale. One thing is certain at this point: If Trump DIDN’T have any inappropriate contact with the Russians, the FBI, the Democrats, and the Obama administration are going to have some serious questions to answer in the near future. They’ve made too many allegations and accusations at this point to simply say, “Oops, guess we were wrong.” If they can’t prove their case, the American people need to hold them accountable for this reckless game.