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DOJ Watchdog Interviewed Christopher Steele In June

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Investigators with the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general interviewed Trump dossier author Christopher Steele in London early last month, according to Reuters.

Three lawyers interviewed Steele at the same time that President Trump was in the United Kingdom on a state visit, from June 3 to June 5.

According to Reuters, investigators extended their inquiry based on information provided by Steele, a former MI6 officer. Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe said in an interview on July 1 that Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, recently informed him that the investigation is complete, and that a report is being drafted.

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Steele, who operates a private intelligence firm in London, was initially reluctant to meet with the office of the inspector general, which since March 2018 has investigated the FBI’s handling of Steele’s infamous but unverified Trump dossier.

New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg said on CNN on June 5 that Steele decided to meet with investigators from the inspector general’s office for fear that “this investigation is going to throw him under the bus.”

The FBI relied on information from Steele to obtain four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser. Steele had provided information in the past to the FBI and other U.S. government agencies.

In the dossier, Steele alleged that Page was one of the Trump campaign’s conduits to the Kremlin. The dossier also alleges that the campaign was involved in a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation” with the Russian government.

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But the special counsel’s report undermined the dossier’s credibility. Prosecutors said they were unable to establish that the Trump campaign or any Trump associates conspired with Russia. The report also said that prosecutors did not establish that Trump associates, including Page, worked as foreign agents of Russia.

Steele reportedly met twice with the special counsel’s office in September 2017. He has declined requests to meet with the House Intelligence and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Republicans have accused the FBI of misleading the FISA court by relying on Steele’s unverified reports to obtain the surveillance warrants. President Donald Trump has said he is considering declassifying parts of the FISA applications.

Steele was hired in June 2016 by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that was working for the Clinton campaign and DNC. Steele shared information from his dossier with FBI agents, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, State Department officials, and numerous members of the press.

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