FBI was still assessing reliability of Steele even after getting FISA warrant

In closed congressional testimony last year, a lawyer for the FBI told lawmakers that even after the bureau obtained a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, officials were still trying to assess the "reliability" of Christopher Steele, author of the anti-Trump Steele dossier.

What makes that revelation so significant is that in the affidavit requesting the FISA warrant, the bureau vouched for Steele, saying, "The FBI assesses Source #1 to be reliable," reads the Oct. 21, 2016 FISA application, referring to Steele.

"Source #1 has been compensated [redacted] by the FBI and the FBI is unaware of any derogatory information pertaining to Source #1."

And yet, a month later, the FBI attorney, Sally Moyer, told Congress that officials reached out to the Justice Department's  Bruce Ohr, who knew Steele from working with him on other cases, asking Ohr to assess Steele's reliability.

In that application, FBI and Justice Department officials asserted that Steele, a retired MI6 officer, was credible and reliable. That assessment has come under question in recent months, as the most serious claims in Steele's dossier have either been undermined by new evidence, or have yet to be verified.

"We were meeting — one of the reasons that the investigators were talking to Bruce Ohr was to try to get further clarity about Christopher Steele and his reliability," Moyer told lawmakers, according to a transcript of her testimony obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The FBI had severed ties with Steele around a week before the Nov. 8, 2016 election because of his unauthorized contacts with the media.  Steele was quoted anonymously in a story published by Mother Jones on Oct. 31, 2016 that laid out claims that the Kremlin had blackmail material on Trump.

Moyer's testimony provides new insight into why the FBI asked Ohr to reconnect with Steele.  Other FBI and Justice Department officials have said that the FBI wanted to reconnect with Steele after Trump's election win as part of the bureau's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. 

To this day, the FBI refuses to say that the Steele dossier is credible or not.

Of all the information that has come out and will come out into how the Russia collusion narrative got started in the nation's top law enforcement offices, the way that the FBI obtained FISA warrants to spy on Americans may rise to the level of criminality.  Agents lied.  They misrepresented the facts, the source, and the accuracy of the information upon which those FISA warrants were based.

This is not in dispute.  The question is, was it a criminal act or simply an abuse of process?

It probably depends on whether the Justice Department can prove motive — that being to interfere in the political campaign of a candidate they hated.

Ohr first met with Steele regarding the ex-spy's Trump investigation on July 30, 2016.  Days after the meeting, Ohr met at FBI headquarters with then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his general counsel, Lisa Page.  Ohr testified to Congress on Aug. 28, 2018 that he told the FBI officials about the Trump-related information that Steele had shared.

Ohr also testified that Steele said he was "desperate" not to see Trump elected president because of his concerns about the Republican's links to Russia.

The FBI did not include Steele's comments about Trump in its FISA applications.  The bureau did, however, portray Steele as a reliable and credible source.

The words "desperate" and "investigation" should never be used in the same paragraph.  It shows just how "professional" the FBI was acting when pursuing the collusion case.

If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com