Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) denounced the FBI this week, claiming the agency fed lawmakers a “bunch of lies” when they backed the credibility of the infamous Steele dossier during a briefing with the Senate Intelligence Committee in February 2018.
“Somebody needs to go to jail for this,” said Graham Sunday during a TV appearance with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. “This is a second lie. This is a second crime. They lied to the FISA court” and to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The FBI’s talking points for the Senate briefing describe dossier author Christopher Steele as operating “within high level academic and government circles” and “maintaining trusted relationships with individuals who are capable of reporting on the material he collected for Steele.”
Evidence presented this week by Graham proves the FBI had known for more than a year that the dossier couldn’t be verified.
During a series of interviews in 2017, Steele told FBI agents that his source was a “boaster” and “embellisher.” Steele’s primary source was Igor Danchenko, a Russian man who lived and worked in the United States but was portrayed as being close to the Russian government. In 2017, Danchenko told FBI agents that the information he gave Steele was “just talk” and that his sources were not worth a “grain of salt.”
Some of the rumors about Donald Trump that ended up in the dossier came from “word of mouth” and from “conversations that [he] had with friends over beers.” The allegations about Trump’s sexual misconduct were statements he heard made in “jest.”
The FBI withheld this information from FISA judges when it used the dossier to obtain a wiretap on Trump aide Carter Page.
“The FISA court just ripped a new one for the FBI. A year before, they’re lying to the Senate Intel Committee. It’s just amazing the compounding of the lies,” says Graham. “How could you send somebody over from the FBI in 2018…to brief about the subsource, and mislead the Senate so badly? You had information in your files that Horowitz found where the subsource completely denied the reliability of the dossier, but the FBI continued to lie as late as 2018.”
FBI agents also hid the fact that Mr. Page worked as an FBI informant for years – presumably because revealing his trustworthiness would hinder their attempts to portray him as a Russian spy.
“They did to the Senate Intel Committee what they did to the FISA court,” continued Graham. “They misled the hell out of them. They said there’s no evidence from the subsource to suggest that Steele fabricated anything in the dossier.”
On Tuesday, Graham sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding a list of the FBI agents who participated in the 2018 briefing. “I’m gonna find out who did that briefing, and whoever it is, they’re in trouble,” said Graham. This happened on Wray’s watch.
Graham also presented documents proving the FBI staged an intelligence briefing with Trump for the sole purpose of assessing his incoming National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.
As we learned earlier this year, FBI agents also attempted to trick Flynn into lying in hopes that he would be fired from the White House. Then-FBI Director James Comey even urged President Obama to withhold information from Flynn, a clear breach of protocol intended to disrupt Trump’s transition into the White House.
Author’s Note: We are hearing this right before the election (as expected), but the big picture here is that a political administration (Obama’s) used a government institution (the FBI) to attack a political rival (Trump). This level of corruption and despotism is truly shocking and not something I would have expected to see in the United States.