Newly unredacted footnotes from the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI‘s investigation into Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign reveal that Russian disinformation was a factor that drove the inquiry. As reported by The New York Post, the FBI came to believe at some point in 2017 that the Steele Dossier, which was used to guide the investigation, contained at least two false statements that originated from a Russian disinformation campaign.
The Daily Caller reports that the disinformation was linked to two of Christopher Steele’s claims: that Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, visited Prague in 2016 to meet with Russian operates, and that Russia was blackmailing Trump using video footage of a 2013 Moscow trip in which he was seen with prostitutes. However, according to The New York Post, the footnotes don’t specify if Trump indeed contacted prostitutes.
“The footnote does not specify if those bogus trip details involve the dossier’s never-substantiated allegations of Trump having contact with Russian prostitutes,” the publication claimed.
#FISA READ footnote 350 FBI effort to verify Steele Dossier “The (redacted) stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and ASSESSED that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations” pic.twitter.com/7aVvNkx3BV— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) April 10, 2020
The discovery of the link between the FBI’s investigation and Russian disinformation reportedly stems from a fact-finding mission spearheaded by Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson.
In a statement to Fox News, the pair blasted the FBI for the revelation.
“It’s ironic that the Russian collusion narrative was fatally flawed because of Russian disinformation,” the statement read.
“These footnotes confirm that there was a direct Russian disinformation campaign in 2016, and there were ties between Russian intelligence and a presidential campaign — the Clinton campaign, not [President] Trump’s.”
According to the newly declassified footnotes, the revelation of the origin of the false statements was uncovered by an organization that was not identified in the IG report.
Former FBI Director James Comey previously suggested that Steele’s allegations could be accurate, but it’s unclear if he was aware of the Russian disinformation at this time. Regardless, The Daily Caller reported that the FBI did gather evidence that there were “significant problems” with the dossier during Comey’s tenure.
“Among the unknowns is whether the FBI received the evidence that the dossier was disinformation while Comey was still with the bureau, or after he left,” the report reads.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Horowitz’s report found evidence of abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process that paved the way for a wiretap of former Trump campaign staffer Carter Page. A subsequent investigation led by Horowitz found additional errors in the process outside of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign.