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Graham Asks DOJ for Records That Cast Doubt on Steele Sub-Source’s ‘Accuracy and Reliability’

Senator Lindsey Graham prior to hearing testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., December 11, 2019 (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) is requesting that the Justice Department release documents that “question the accuracy and reliability” of former British spy Christopher Steele’s sourcing, following news that Steele himself has no records of his conversations with the primary sub-source for his infamous dossier.

In a letter to attorney general William Barr, Graham asked for “All documents and communications related to the FBI’s interviews with the Primary Sub-source in January, March, and May 2017,” as detailed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December report.

Recently declassified footnotes of Horowitz’s audit found that the FBI became aware in January 2017 that Steele’s allegations relating to the Trump campaign involved disinformation produced by Russian intelligence, which knew of Steele’s work as early as July 2016.

“During these interviews, the Primary Sub-source substantially undercut Steele’s election reporting, calling into question the accuracy and reliability of any of Steele’s reports,” Graham explained in the letter. “In spite of this, the FBI continued to seek renewals for FISA coverage on Carter Page and never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of the credibility issues identified by the FBI’s interviews of the Primary Sub-source — whom the FBI internally found “to be truthful and cooperative.”

The South Carolina Republican, who revealed in February that his probe into the FBI’s FISA abuses would focus on when the Bureau’s leadership learned of the dossier’s “bar talk and hearsay,” also asked Barr to hand over unredacted emails in which former FBI officials discuss the veracity of Steele’s reporting.

Steele, who last month said his records about the dossier “were wiped in early January 2017” — contradicting his own lawyers’ public statements — also said during a recent deposition that his allegation that the 2016 Trump campaign was secretly corresponding with the Kremlin through a Russian bank was based on a claim he heard from a lawyer that represented the DNC and Clinton campaign.

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