Newly released documents describe just how involved State Department employees were in British ex-spy Christopher Steele sharing unverified claims about President Trump’s links to Russia with the FBI in 2016.
The records, among hundreds of pages declassified in August and released publicly on Wednesday, draw out the links between Steele and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, showing how the former MI6 officer worked with Clinton allies at the State Department to pass to FBI investigators unfounded Russia allegations during an election year that have cast a cloud over Trump throughout his presidency.
This comes as renewed scrutiny is being given to the role that Steele’s anti-Trump dossier played in 2016 when Clinton faced off against Trump, and how some of President-elect Joe Biden’s picks for top jobs in his incoming administration (such as Jake Sullivan for national security adviser and Neera Tanden for the White House’s budget director) played roles in promoting now-discredited Trump-Russia claims.
Two top Republican senators who have been trying to pry this information out of the government for years, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, said the exposure on Wednesday is a victory for transparency as they continue to root out misconduct surrounding the bureau’s inquiry into ties between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia.
“For years, the American people have demanded answers to questions regarding the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and its targeting of the Trump campaign, the presidential transition, and the Trump administration. Our committees have sought to uncover and expose misconduct by calling on agencies to declassify and produce text messages, internal emails, and other investigative material, which in turn we have made public,” the duo said Thursday. “Although agency bureaucrats have fought tooth and nail to keep records hidden, our commitment to transparency has never wavered. The documents we are releasing today are the product of our continued fight for transparency.”
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