On the same day he approved a FISA surveillance warrant application verifying reporting by Christopher Steele, former FBI Director James Comey admitted in an email to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that he was “not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting” provided in Christopher Steele’s now-disproved dossier.
“We are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting,” Comey wrote.
In a report published on Monday, JustTheNews outlined how Comey emailed Clapper on Jan. 12, 2017, to object to his line stating “the [Intelligence Community] has not made any judgment that the information in the document is reliable and we did not rely on it in any way for our conclusions.” In his reply, Comey explained he took issue with the statement because he believed the FBI “concluded that the source is reliable and has a track record with us of reporting reliable information.” This determination, however, he admitted, had no other supporting proof in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
“It might be better to say ‘we have not been able to sufficiently corroborate the information to include it in the body of Russia report but, for a variety of reasons, we thought it important to include it in our report to our senior-most audience,’” Comey concluded.
Even though Comey admitted the lack of corroboration for the dossier, the bureau head signed a renewal FISA warrant to allow for extended spying on Trump campaign affiliate Carter Page on the same day, opening up the door for a longer Russia collusion investigation into information he was already forewarned about. Later-declassified documents suggest Comey decided to sign the warrant — even after he was alerted by the CIA that Page was not a Russian spy but was actually assisting U.S. intelligence efforts, after he was warned that Steele may not be a reliable source of information, after Steele was fired for leaking confidential information to corporate media outlets, and after recommendations to cancel the probe into incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn “for lack of evidence.”
Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz condemned Comey, the FBI, and the Biden administration with the release of the new information, saying no one will be held responsible for their misconduct or errors in the Russian collusion hoax.
“Not only did our own Justice Department set up the president on the Russia hoax, they did it with rotten information and they knew the information was rotten when they did it,” Gaetz said on Fox News on Monday. “You know, I know, and all of the viewers know that there’s not going to be accountability under the Biden Justice Department because none of the career people there think the way to move up in the Biden Justice Department is to expose the Russia hoax. Instead, they’re going to be targeting [Trump], his family members, and the supporters of the America First movement.”
In a 2019 report from the Justice Department, Inspector General Michael Horowitz also noted that this particular January application was littered with erroneous information. He scolded the FBI for severe misconduct in its investigation. Later, when questioned by Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham, Comey denied he was somewhat responsible for the “17 significant errors and omissions” as well as the “50 errors in the FBI’s Woods process” in the warrant applications he approved.
“Does the FBI director have any responsibility to make sure the facts are right when they’re given to the court?” Graham asked.
“Not in connection with the certification,” Comey said, referring to a certification he signed off on for an affidavit related to the FISA application. “But in general, the FBI director is responsible for everything that is being done underneath the FBI director.”
Shortly after his first congressional grilling, Comey feigned innocence again about his involvement in the illegally obtained warrants and surveillance of Page before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Comey repeated calls of “I don’t remember,” “That’s about all I can recall,” “I don’t remember it,” “I don’t remember learning anything additional about Steele’s sources,” “Not that I recall, no,” “I don’t know,” and “I don’t recall that,” to each senator that questioned his failure as the director to properly oversee FBI procedures concerning the Russian collusion hoax investigation.