Two powerful GOP Senators sent a letter Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting all the records from the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team, which investigated the now debunked theory that President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.
Sen. Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who have been investigating the circumstances surrounding the FBI’s investigation and alleged malfeasance in obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Warrants to spy on then Trump campaign official Carter Page, made the request in a letter.
The senators stated in the letter that “on January 28, 2020, we wrote to Attorney General Barr and requested the declassification of four footnotes in the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
“Since then, we received declassified versions of those and other footnotes, and they reveal disturbing facts about the FBI’s investigation: the Crossfire Hurricane team’s investigative file included at least two intelligence reports stating that key parts of the reporting from Christopher Steele—reporting that “played a central and essential role” in the decision to request FISA orders —were part of a Russian disinformation campaign,” the pair added.
The Senator’s noted that the information in the now-declassified footnotes from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December report investigating the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign “also directly contradicts statements provided by FBI officials in the OIG report.”
The footnotes revealed that former senior Obama officials, including members of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team knew the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 election was Russian disinformation to target Trump and his administration.
Further, those partially declassified footnotes reveal that those senior intelligence officials were aware of the disinformation when they included the dossier in the Obama administration’s Intelligence Communities Assessment (ICA).
Johnson and Grassley said they were “deeply troubled by the Crossfire Hurricane team’s awareness of and apparent indifference to Russian disinformation, as well as by the grossly inaccurate statements by the FBI official in charge of the investigation and its supervisory intelligence analyst.”
Further, the recently declassified footnotes raise numerous other issues of “significant concern.”
“What other parts of the FBI’s investigation were infected by Russian disinformation? …The FBI knew that Russian intelligence was targeting Christopher Steele’s company, that Steele relied on sources affiliated with Russian intelligence, and at least two of Steele’s reports were described as the product of a Russian disinformation campaign. Because these facts show the intention, means, and ability to plant Russian disinformation in Steele’s reporting, they suggest that the prevalence of such disinformation in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation may have been widespread.”
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