Former British spy Christopher Steele passed on additional conspiracies about then-GOP nominee Donald Trump to the FBI beyond those contained in his “Russia dossier,” the recently released Justice Department inspector general report on bureau misconduct noted.
DoJ IG Michael Horowitz’s report shows at least three previously unheard of and little-noticed claims by Steele that were passed to the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigative team. And, like the 13 allegations contained in his dossier of a conspiracy between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government, they were also unfounded.
The IG’s report noted that the three additional allegations claimed that Trump accepted campaign cash from Moscow via Azerbaijan, a purported intervention by Russian President Vladimir Putin on who would be the next secretary of state, and a Russian intelligence officer, the Washington Times reported.
Steele was hired in June 2016 by political opposition research firm Fusion GPS with money provided by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The funds were moved through a law firm, Perkins Coie.
In September, Steele met with several reporters in Washington, D.C., to convey his theories that Trump was very likely a Kremlin spy and that the Trump campaign was assisting in Russia’s effort to meddle in the U.S. election.
He returned to Washington in October to spread the dossier to more reporters as well as to the FBI and the State Department.
Steele first met with an FBI handler at his Orbis Business Intelligence firm in London. He would later meet with a group of FBI agents and an intelligence analyst in Rome in October 2016 as the bureau was drafting an affidavit for the FISA court o get a surveillance warrant for Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the Times noted.
At the same time, Steele met and communicated with No. 4 Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, who passed along his anti-Trump conspiracies to FBI leaders.
Steele switched tactics after Trump won the election in November. The following month Steele passed along a copy of the dossier to a staffer of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), David Kramer. The late senator hand-delivered a copy of the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey.
Kramer, meanwhile, shopped the dossier anew to American media outlets. It was eventually published in full by Buzzfeed after Comey briefed President-elect Trump on the dossier’s contents, but without letting the president know it was used as evidence to spy on his campaign.
Page, according to Horowitz’s report, turned out to be an informant for the CIA. The agency passed along that information to the FBI, but a mid-level lawyer working on the FISA court affidavits intentionally left out the information, according to reports.