FILE – In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, then-incoming FBI Director James Comey talks with outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller before Comey was officially sworn in at the Justice Department in Washington. On May 17, 2017, the Justice Department said it is appointing Mueller as special counsel to oversee investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Sources have told investigative reporter John Solomon that the vast majority of claims made in Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier were “either wrong, unverifiable or things that an intern could find on the internet.”
Solomon appeared on “Hannity” last night and here is what he had to say: (Segment begins at 38:05 in the video below.)
In early 2017, the FBI began on a significant effort to assess the credibility of the Steele dossier. They interviewed one of his primary sources, a Russian living in the west and they came to the assessment after the interview which I believe was in January or February in 2017, that he was either intentionally misleading Steele or exaggerating in ways that caused Steele’s report to be grossly inaccurate.
They then took every factual statement in the Steele dossier memos and put them in a spreadsheet and analyzed them and came to conclude that the vast majority of them were either wrong, unverifiable despite all the investigative tools the FBI had or things that an intern with a google search could find on the internet. Not actionable intelligence, but google garbage. That is the quality of what they had.
Why is that significant? At the time they were learning this, they were continuing to represent to the court that Christopher Steele was a reputable source, that his information might be reliable.
One thing they discovered that they learned early on was wrong, the seminal thing they shared with the FISA Court, they wrote in a verified FISA application that Christopher Steele had corroborated or verified that Carter Page had met with [Rosneft oil executive] Igor Sechin and [senior government official] Igor Divyekin, two senior Russians close to Putin, during a trip in July 2016. The FBI never verified that and ultimately concluded it did not happen. That is the sort of information they knew was wrong in 2017. It took us until 2019 to get the same answer.
Solomon wrote that Page had met with a lower level Rosneft official and had “shaken hands” with a Russian deputy prime minister. But that was the extent of it.
The dossier claimed that Sechin had offered Page “a 19 percent (privatized) stake in Rosneft if he could get Trump to help lift sanctions on Moscow.”
This was obviously never verified. Nor were the bulk of the other claims in the dossier ever verified. Yet, the FBI presented this information in their applications to the FISA Court as verified.
One source told Solomon that “the spreadsheet was a sea of blanks, meaning most claims couldn’t be corroborated, and those things that were found in classified intelligence suggested Steele’s intelligence was partly or totally inaccurate on several claims.”
The most memorable claim in the dossier was the “golden shower” incident. According to a footnote in the Mueller Report, the FBI had interviewed Georgian-American Giorgi Rtskhiladze who said he “had been told the tapes were fake. Rtskhiladze’s lawyer subsequently issued a letter taking issue with some of Mueller’s characterizations.”
Solomon’s report about the FBI’s spreadsheet corroborates the claim that top officials were well aware that the dossier had not been verified. Several months ago, Solomon reported that State Department official Kathleen Kavalec emailed the FBI following a meeting with Christopher Steele to express her doubts about his motives and the credibility of the dossier itself. She had actually debunked several of the claims herself.
And top DOJ official Bruce Ohr testified that, on July 30, 2016, the day he presented the dossier to the FBI, he had warned them that it had not been verified.
Last month, Christopher Steele sat for a lengthy interview with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. This led to speculation by left leaning media outlets, most notably Politico and The Washington Post, that the IG found his testimony and his debunked dossier to be credible.
Politico reported that “Investigators ultimately found Steele’s testimony credible and even surprising.”
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, in an article entitled, “William Barr’s shilling for Trump may have just hit a snag,” wrote that “Trumpworld’s alt-narrative” was wrong.
But this whole narrative may have taken a new hit…Post fact checker Salvador Rizzo has shown, that whole narrative is wildly exaggerated and largely false in multiple ways.
Solomon said those reports were “misguided.”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) echoed Solomon’s sentiments. Meadows had spoken with DOJ officials after hearing these reports. He told Solomon:
Based on my conversations with DOJ officials, recent reports which suggest Christopher Steele’s dossier and allegations are somehow deemed credible by DOJ, are simply false and not based on any confirmation from sources with direct knowledge of ongoing investigations.
It’s amazing the FBI didn’t shred this spreadsheet a long time ago! The consequences, if what Solomon alleges is true, and I have every reason to suspect it is, will be great. It would mean that not only did the FBI file at least the last two FISA Court applications after the dossier had been debunked, but that Rod Rosenstein appointed a Special Counsel to investigate allegations against the President the FBI knew to be false.
The deep state kept this farce going for two more years, and would have continued had Attorney General William Barr not taken the reins at the DOJ.
The investigation certainly had an effect on the midterms. Although we’ll never know for sure, it’s quite possible that if the FBI ended the investigation in early 2017, clearing President Trump, Democrats may not have taken back control of the House.
Moreover, the narrative pushed by the left for over two years would have been nipped in the bud.
We’ve been stuck in an information blackout for several months now as DOJ IG Horowitz and Prosecutor John Durham conduct their investigations and it’s been frustrating. But all signs point to an eventual win for the President.