February 9, 2018

...PULL!....PULL!...:

Analysis Refutes Criminal Referral of Christopher Steele (Senator Dianne Feinstein, February 9, 2018)

The following analysis rebuts a series of claims in the Grassley-Graham criminal referral:

1.      The criminal referral is not based on any allegation that Steele lied or misrepresented facts about Carter Page or what is included in the Steele dossier. In fact, neither provide any evidence that any of the information in Steele's dossier is wrong. Instead, the referral is limited to a single baseless allegation: that Steele lied about his contacts with the press.

2.      The criminal referral omits key facts. The Department of Justice has provided documents regarding its interactions with Mr. Steele to the Judiciary Committee both before and after the criminal referral was made. Despite this, the Majority did not modify the criminal referral and pressed forward with its original claims, which do not take into account the additional information provided after the initial January 4 referral.

Instead of providing a comprehensive analysis, the criminal referral selectively focuses on some facts while omitting others.

For example, the criminal referral includes incomplete and misleading allegations regarding an October 19, 2016, report that Mr. Steele received from a "friend of the Clintons."[1]

The criminal referral alleges that Mr. Steele was using this additional reporting from "the Clinton friend" as the basis for his own work - implying there was no independent investigative work done by Steele. The criminal referral fails to address the fact that 14 of the 17 memos in the Steele dossier published by Buzzfeed were created by Mr. Steele before this October 19 report. It would have been impossible for Mr. Steele to include information that he received in an October 19 report from "a friend of the Clintons" in his 14 earlier reports, which date back to June 20, 2016.

3.      The criminal referral fails to make a case that Christopher Steele lied to the FBI. The referral states that "it appears that either Mr. Steele lied to the FBI or the British court, or that the classified documents reviewed by the Committee contain materially false statements."[2] These allegations are made regarding Mr. Steele's interactions with the press and whether he lied about those interactions to the FBI.

18 U.S.C. § 1001, the legal authority cited by the criminal referral, provides that: "[W]hoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation" shall be punished accordingly.

·         Importantly, the criminal referral fails to identify when, if ever, Mr. Steele was asked about and provided a materially false statement about his press contacts.

·         Tellingly, it also fails to explain any circumstances which would have required Mr. Steele to seek the FBI's permission to speak to the press or to disclose if he had done so.

Rather, the criminal referral cites occasions where Mr. Steele spoke to the press at the end of September 2016. Specifically, it focuses on a Yahoo News article written by Michael Isikoff.

If Mr. Steele had been asked by the FBI about his contacts with Mr. Isikoff for this September article, and if he had spoken with this reporter, then he should have disclosed that fact.[3] But the criminal referral provides no evidence that Steele was ever asked about the Isikoff article, or if asked that he lied.

It is also important to note, that in October 2016, the FBI learned that Mr. Steele had disclosed "his relationship with the FBI" to a reporter, David Corn.[4] Because of this, the FBI then suspended its relationship with Mr. Steele and informed the FISA court of these developments in its renewal requests.[5]

·         The FBI made clear, however, that it still considered Steele's reporting to be reliable regardless of his contacts with the press.[6]

·         The FISA court granted three renewals after having been informed of Steele's contacts with the press.[7]



Posted by at February 9, 2018 7:29 PM

  

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