FBI under scrutiny over connections to foreign spy

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The FBI and a British spy who authored a dubious opposition research dossier on President Trump during the 2016 campaign are the subjects of an inquiry launched by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a letter to FBI Director James Comey Monday, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa requested records pertaining to any agreements the agency may have had with Christopher Steele, an M16 agent who wrote a controversial report to benefit Trump’s political adversaries claiming that the Russians had compromising information on the president.

Comey informed Trump of the existence of the dossier in a private meeting in January. The unverified allegations levied in the report were published shortly thereafter by several news organizations. The White House denied the charges.

According to a late February report by The Washington Post, the FBI forged an agreement with Steele that authorized him to continue his investigation on behalf of the bureau.

“While Trump has derided the dossier as ‘fake news’ compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with Steele shows that the bureau considered him credible and found his information, while unproved, to be worthy of further investigation,” the Post reported.

Grassley’s inquiry seeks more facts regarding the questionable arrangement.

Christopher Steele

Christopher David Steele

“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote.

“It is additionally troubling that the FBI reportedly agreed to such an arrangement given that, in January of 2017, then-Director Clapper issued a statement stating that ‘the [intelligence community] has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.’”

Grassley has requested all records pertaining to Steele’s investigation, details of the agreement between the FBI and Steele, and the bureau’s policies for using outside investigators. Additionally he has questioned whether the FBI has sought warrants utilizing any of the information Steele has produced.

H/T: The Hill

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