Prosecutor John Durham has been tasked by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a thorough investigation of the Russia probe, focusing specifically on the FBI’s use of the phony opposition research known as the Steele dossier to secure warrants against an American citizen. But even this early into his investigation, Durham has run into a problem: The author of that dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, will not cooperate. According to Reuters, Steele has decided not to answer Durham’s questions, obstructing this important inquiry.
Christopher Steele, a former Russia expert for the British spy agency MI6, will not answer questions from prosecutor John Durham, named by Barr to examine the origins of the investigations into Trump and his campaign team, said the source close to Steele’s London-based private investigation firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.
Trump has given Barr broad authority to declassify intelligence materials related to the investigations. Last week Trump ordered the heads of U.S. spy and law enforcement agencies to cooperate with Durham.
The source close to Steele’s company said Steele would not cooperate with Durham’s probe but might cooperate with a parallel inquiry by the Justice Department’s Inspector General into how U.S. law enforcement agencies handled pre-election investigations into both Trump and Clinton.
Any thorough investigation of the FBI’s malpractice in 2016 would be incomplete without at least one Chris Steele interview. Both him and Fusion GPS head-honcho Glenn Simpson need to be questioned about their role in turning Donald Trump into Public Enemy #1. First and foremost, we need to know where exactly Steele got his (bad) information from. We also need to know just how clued in the FBI was when it came to the political – and fake – nature of the dossier itself. Yes, yes, we know a lot of this already, but it wouldn’t hurt to get Steele on the record one last time.
This is particularly true since this would be in the first interview with Steele in the Post-Mueller universe. The Mueller report, in clearing Trump and his campaign, virtually shredded any remaining viability of the dossier. Indeed, despite the dossier being used to smear this president and surveil his allies, the Mueller report hardly mentions it. And today, Obama intelligence officials like John Brennan like to pretend that the dossier had very little to do with the investigation. As if they knew it was bunk from the very start.
Which, to be fair, they did. But then, that opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms.