The unverified dossier alleging connections between President Trump’s campaign and the Russians was used as evidence by the FBI to gain approval from a secret court to monitor members of Trump’s team, this reporter has learned.
A large portion of the evidence presented in the salacious 35-page dossier put together by former British spy Christopher Steele, has either been proven wrong or remains unsubstantiated. However, the FBI gained approval nevertheless to surveil members of Trump’s campaign and “it’s outrageous and clearly should be thoroughly investigated,” said a senior law enforcement source, with knowledge of the process.
Multiple sources told this reporter that the dossier was used along with other evidence to obtain the warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as FISC. The sources also stressed that there will be more information in the coming week regarding systemic “FISA abuse.”
“(The dossier) certainly played a role in obtaining the warrant,” added another senior U.S. official, with knowledge of the dossier. “Congress needs to look at the FBI officials who were handling this case and see what, if anything, was verified in the dossier. I think an important question is whether the FBI paid anything to the source for the dossier.”
On Wednesday, Sean Hannity said he has also independently confirmed that the dossier was used to obtain the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant from three separate sources.
Listen to Sean Hannity here
One very senior source said the dossier played “a significant role” in obtaining the warrant Hannity said on his radio show Wednesday.
FBI officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
On Friday, members of the House Intelligence Committee went to the Justice Department to review the FBI and DOJ documents requested last August by Chairman Devin Nunes, congressional sources said. The information is essential to the committee’s investigation of Steele, the dossier and Fusion GPS.
In October, the Washington Post revealed that Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign paid the now embattled research firm Fusion GPS to fund the research into the dossier. Marc E. Elias, who was a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC allegedly retained Fusion GPS, but the campaign failed to disclose those payments on its finance records.
In April, CNN reported that the dossier was used to monitor communications of Carter Page, who volunteered as a national security advisor with the Trump campaign for a short period of time. But in December, a New York Times story seemed to suggest that the inquiry into the Trump campaign and its alleged ties to Russia began with George Papadopoulos, who worked as a foreign policy advisor to Trump campaign.
Sources told the New York Times that it was Papadopoulos’ conversation with a Australian diplomat at London bar in May 2016 that caught the attention of the FBI.
“Now that the dirt has spilled on the dossier, it looks like some officials are trying to deflect by saying the inquiry began with Papadopoulos,” said the senior law enforcement official.