While Thursdays evidence by James Comey focused on his private discussions with President Trump, the dismissed FBI director still faces questions posed months ago over linked with the members of the bureau and a British ex-spys mysterious and unverified anti-Trump dossier.
Comey was asked about the dossier, prepared by onetime British observe Christopher Steele, early in his testimony on Thursday morning by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. But Comey declined to answer in open period, quoting very concerned about the sensitivity of some of the material in the report.
His decision not to discuss the issue at least not publicly is consistent with his response to date. As of Monday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has still not received any response from Comey in the matter of Steele, and his London-based busines, Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. Steeles firm was hired by Fusion GPS, a Washington , D.C. firm, to collect foe study on then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.
For months, in hearings and symbols, a exasperated Grassley has criticized Comey for the bureaus failure to provide papers requested and answer questions about Steele. Grassley too called out Fusion this week for allegedly not cooperating with his committee, sending a June 7 letter trying all responsive documentation and information by June 14 and warning that he could consider a mandatory process if necessary.
As previously reported by Fox News, Comey considered the unverified dossier prepared by Steele to be so important, he claimed it be included in January’s final intelligence community report on Russian meddling in such elections. The FBI offered Steele $ 50,000 to attest the dossier, according to published reports, though the members of the bureau has repudiated making any payments.
The Steele dossier was part of the evidence the FBI used to obtain a FISA warrant for Carter Page, a peripheral consultant in the Trump campaign the dossier specified as a figure in Trump campaign distributes with Russia. In interviews with Fox News, however, Page frequently has rejected “hes been” the Trump campaign’s point person for Moscow, and said he trusts he was a target of unmasking efforts by the Obama administration.
Questions abide over exactly how the unverified dossier was transferred around on both sides of the Atlantic, in particular between June and December 2016, as it was shown in parts to a variety of politicians, correspondents and intelligence agencies before being wreaked officially to the FBI by Sen. John McCain on Dec. 9.
The person who returned the dossier to the attention of McCain last-place dusk, onetime British Ambassador Sir Andrew Wood , now emphasizes to Fox News that, Intelligence ever necessary estimating of courseIt is always foolish to put yourself in a position to pretend to knowledge that you do not have.
In an email exchange, Wood supposed while he told McCain about the material, he had not read and could not vouch for it. Still, he told, information materials was developed by responsible persons.
I understood that its general materials were known to others in the United States. The Senator then arranged for the working paper to be to be submitted to him, he wrote, lending: “It was up to the Senator to decide what activity if any he took throughout the whole process. He is known to me as to many others as a intrepid patriot. I have no doubt that he behaved as he envisioned fit in that capacity.”
Serving as Britain’s ambassador to Moscow from 1995 -2 000, Wood’s name and his relationship with Steele emerged in British Court records obtained and reviewed by Fox News as part of Steeles defense in a lawsuit made against him by Russian technology guru Aleksej Gubarev. Gubarevwhose companies are mentioned in the dossierhas also registered a dispute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida against Buzzfeed for publishing the unverified 35 page dossier in full.
The April 2017 papers recognize Wood as “an Associate of Orbis”( Page 1-Item 5 ), and say he was aware of the Second Defendant’s[ Steeles] intelligence gathering for the pre-election memoranda.( Page 2–Item 11)
But in email exchanges with Fox News on June 6, Wood told a different story.
“I have had no professional relationship with Orbis, he wrote. You refer to me as an Associate( capital A) and draw some conclusions as to my role, which go beyond what it has been, that of a friend to Christopher Steele and a person among others with whom I have from time to time discussed Russian affairs.
When asked about the responsibilities of Fusion GPS in Washington D.C ., Wood expressed the view that “I do not know Fusion apart from the fact that it exists.”
McCain’s position has not responded to Fox News recent request for provide comments on the dossier. In a Jan. 11 press release, McCain stated, “Late last year, I received feelings information that has since been made publicly available. Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I handed the information to the Director of the FBI. That has been the scope of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.”
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel( FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with various awardings. Browne first met FOX in 1997 to launch the story magazine Fox Files and later, War Stories.
Cyd Upson is a Senior Producer at Fox News in the Investigative Unit and of the acclaimed military autobiography line War Stories.