Did Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS, the Clinton campaign and the DNC just make up the Russia collusion hoax?
“This is probably done in conjunction with Fusion GPS that was making this stuff up, they conveniently were able to get this into the FBI, willing takers at the FBI, and this was all to dirty up the Trump campaign. I mean, I have to say, you can’t make this stuff up, but… that’s exactly what they did.”
That was Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Devin Nunes’ (R-Calif.) reaction in an interview with John Batchelor on May 9, who asked him about a report from The Hill’s John Solomon that details a meeting former British spy Christopher Steele — author of the false allegation paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign that President Donald Trump was a Russian agent — had with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11, 2016.
The meeting was memorialized in a memo Kavalec typed up afterward, and cast serious doubts on some of the allegations Steele was making, as well as his credibility. According to Kavalac, Steele was “keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8” to have an impact on 2016 election.
The documents came from a Freedom of Information Act request by Citizens United.
It included a bunch of whoppers, some included in the Steele dossier, others not. For example, that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort owed $100 million to the Russians. It turns out that was an exaggeration as the amount was more like $10 million from Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska.
Former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page was said to have met with Rosneft executive Igor Sechin. This was from the dossier, the specific (absurd) allegation was that Page had been offered a 19 percent stake in Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, that would have been worth billions of dollars. There is no mention of a meeting with Sechin in the Mueller report by Page.
Steele also detailed to Kavalec “a technical/human operation run out of Moscow targeting the election. There is a significant Russian network in the U.S. run by the Russian Embassy that draws on emigres to do hacking and recruiting… Payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian consulate.”
But, as Kavalec noted in her comments, “It is important to note that there is no Russian consulate in Miami.”
In other words, Steele’s assertions did not pass the smell test to Kavalec, since it included easily debunked claims like the fictitious Russian consulate in Miami. In the least, they came with a huge grain of salt. And this was 10 days before the Justice Department went to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to get a warrant to conduct electronic surveillance (i.e. spy) on Page and the Trump campaign, that gave the Justice Department access to campaign phone calls, emails, texts and more.
Nunes found it unbelievable that the Kavalec memo did not find its way to the FBI, especially considering that parts of it were classified, telling Batchelor, “I find it very hard to believe that the FBI never saw this memo, in fact, I’m quite sure [it did] because the State Department was anxious to get as much information over to the FBI as possible” including other dossiers that had been handed off.”
“I think they realized [with the FOIA request] that they put something out that didn’t belong out and they later tried to retroactively go back and classify it,” Nunes added.
All this comes atop the Mueller investigation and report debunking several other claims that had been made by Steele.