In an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that recently-declassified documents prove that FBI officials lied to the Senate about the validity and reliability of Christopher Steele’s infamous Trump/Russia dossier.
“This document clearly shows that the FBI was continuing to mislead regarding the reliability of the Steele dossier,” Graham said. “The FBI did to the Senate Intelligence Committee what the Department of Justice and FBI had previously done to the FISA court: mischaracterize, mislead, and lie.
“The characterizations regarding the dossier were completely out of touch with reality in terms of what the Russian subsource actually said to the FBI,” Graham continued. “What does this mean? That Congress, as well as the FISA court, was lied to about the reliability of the Russian subsource. I will be asking FBI Director Wray to provide me all the details possible about how the briefing was arranged and who provided it.”
Graham said that this is a serious matter worthy of criminal proceedings.
“Somebody needs to go to jail for this,” Graham said. “This is a second lie. This is a second crime. They lied to the FISA court. They got rebuked, the FBI did, in 2019 by the FISA court, putting in doubt all FISA applications … a year before, they’re lying to the Senate Intel Committee. It’s just amazing the compounding of the lies.”
The document to which Graham is referring is an eight-page memo from February 2018. In it, an FBI official summarizes what Igor Danchenko – Steele’s primary subsource and a researcher for the U.S.-based Brookings Institute – told the FBI in a series of interviews conducted the previous year.
“Several reports appeared to be derived from multiple sources, to include the information he provided to Steele as well as information that he had not collected,” the memo said. “He did not cite any significant concerns with the way his reporting was characterized in the dossier to the extent he could identify it.”
At one point, Danchenko acknowledged that there were claims in the dossier attributed to him that “he did not recall” sharing. There were other parts of the dossier that he “did not know the origins” of. He also said that he didn’t know that Steele was going to use their conversations as part of an official report.
“Actually, the subsource said it was all bar talk, hearsay, speculation and conjecture, and the whole sexual activity of the president was made in jest,” Graham said on Fox News. “So they completely misrepresented to the Senate Intel Committee in 2018 what the subsource had told the FBI in 2017.”
This dossier, which provided the FBI with all it needed to get a FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page and gave them all the ammunition they needed to conduct their investigation into the Trump campaign, was a political document based on nonsensical jibber-jabber with a U.S.-based researcher who was in no position to know anything in the first place. Steele filled it out with Google searches and user-written Yahoo pages. This wasn’t espionage; this was fiction. And the Obama administration weaponized it against a political opponent.
The word “shameful” doesn’t begin to cover it. Graham is absolutely right – this is criminal.