03:06 GMT01 June 2020
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    The so-called "Steele Dossier", compiled by a former MI6 agent under orders from Donald Trump's opponents in the 2016 election, became a major inspiration for the FBI's Russia probe into members of the Trump campaign, branded by POTUS as a "witch hunt". The fact that the dossier was a political hit-piece didn't stop the bureau from relying on it.

    The new unedited version of the report by US Inspector General Michael Horowitz showed that not only did the FBI use parts of the so-called Steele Dossier in acquiring FISA surveillance warrants to spy on Trump's aide, Carter Page, during the 2016 campaign, but it also ran a separate probe into one of the dossier's sources – so-called Person 1.

    This probe was started in October 2016, even before the FBI used the notorious dossier to get FISA warrants for the first time. Yet, the bureau hasn't notified the surveillance court about the probe, as well as about Steele's own doubts in regards to Person 1, whom he called a "boaster" and an "embellisher".

    This mishap became a separate point of criticism by Horowitz in the report, which stressed that usually such investigations are reported to the court by the Justice Department.

    "We believe the FBI should have specifically and explicitly advised [Justice Department’s Office of Intelligence] about the FBI’s assessment that this particular sub-source relied upon in the FISA application was Person 1, that Steele had provided derogatory information regarding Person 1, and that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation on Person 1", the report said.

    Comey Admits Being "Wrong" About FBI

    In light of the revelations made in Horowitz's report, former FBI chief James Comey, who led the bureau at the time the investigation into Trump started, said that he was "overconfident" to defend the way his agency requested FISA warrants and said he was "wrong" when he said that the FBI did not make any mistakes during the process.

    Despite this admission and the report distinctively outlining "a central and essential role" the Steele Dossier played in the probe, Comey refused to apologise for its use and argued that its role was not that important, despite admitting that it helped in obtaining FISA warrants.

    US President Donald Trump, whose campaign aide was tapped by the FBI as part of the probe, reacted to the former FBI chief admitting to having been wrong, suggesting that his remorse was not sincere since it came only after the errors made by the agency during the probe were exposed. 

    In the past, Trump has repeatedly called the Russia probe and subsequent Robert Mueller investigation a "witch hunt" designed to limit his ability to fulfil his presidential duties. Two years of investigation failed to find any evidence that Trump's campaign conspired with Moscow to rig the 2016 presidential election.


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    Donald Trump, FISA Warrants, FISA Courts, FBI, US
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