Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen, Iowa Republican Charles Grassley, on Monday released an unclassified version of the referral and Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham. The document states Hillary Clinton associates fed information to the author of the infamous and unverifiable “Trump-Russia Dossier,” former British spy Christopher Steele:
In fact, in the British litigation, which involves a post-election dossier memorandum, Mr. Steele admitted that he received and included in it unsolicited–and unverified-allegations.21 That filing implies that he similarly received unsolicited intelligence on these matters prior to the election as well, stating that Mr. Steele “continued to receive unsolicited intelligence on the matters covered by the pre-election memoranda after the US Presidential election.”22
(U) One memorandum by Mr. Steele that was not published by Buzzfeed is dated October 19, 2016. The report alleges [redacted], as well as [redacted]. Mr. Steele’s memorandum states that his company “received this report from [redacted] US State Department,” that the report was the second in a series, and that the report was information that came from a foreign sub-source who “is in touch with [redacted], a contact of [redacted], a friend of the Clintons, who passed it to [redacted].” It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.
This is significant because it has always been thought that Mr. Steele’s sources were almost exclusively Russian agents. Now we learn that Clinton associates were apparently funneling information from the Obama State Department which passed through an unnamed person first.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation signed off on an unclassified version of the Grassley/Graham referral only after the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) Majority memo largely based on the same underlying documents, was declassified and released. Grassley is now calling on the FBI to update the classification of the referral to allow complete disclosure of important context from the documents on which it is based.
On January 4, Sens Grassley and Graham, referred Steele to the Justice Department seeking a probe of potential false statements investigators have reason to believe Steele made about the distribution of claims contained in the so-called Dossier. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, individuals are prohibited from making false statements to the federal authorities of the United States.
The text of Grassley’s and Graham’s unclassified referral letter, without the classified attachment, can be seen here.
According to the Washington Times, the Grassley-Graham referral means that not only was the FBI pitching Democratic opposition research to the judge, it was also conveying information from Clinton’s allies.
Last month Grassley and Graham sent other letters seeking information and documents regarding Christopher Steele’s work on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary for America. The letters seek information and documents relating to those political organizations’ knowledge of and involvement in Mr. Steele’s work and his reported interactions with the FBI while he was working on behalf of these political organizations. The letters were sent to:
- The Democratic National Committee (DNC)
- Hillary for America (HFA)
- Former DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
- Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile
- HFA Chair John Podesta
- HFA Chief Strategist Joel Benenson
The letter to the Democratic National Committee asked for all communications with a large group of people, some at the State Department, and two of them operatives of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
- The Clinton operatives are Sidney Blumenthal and his cohort, Cody Shearer.
- The State Department employees include Kathleen Kavalec, and former officials Victoria Nuland and Jon Winer.
Seeking transparency and cooperation should not be this challenging. The government should not be blotting out information that it admits isn’t secret, and it should not take dramatic steps by Congress and the White House to get answers that the American people are demanding. There are still many questions that can only be answered by complete transparency. That means declassifying as much of the underlying documents as possible.
We cannot determine whether the allegations are true from the unclassified materials. The facts will no doubt become even more clouded when the Democrats get their minority report memo unclassified and released to try and counter the Nunes Memo. We need as much of the underlying documents as possible declassified.