Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the intelligence community could not corroborate a dossier on Trump produced by a former British spy Christopher Steele.
“We couldn’t corroborate the sourcing, particularly the second and third order sources,” Clapper told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Steele was hired by Fusion GPS, an intelligence firm paid by Republican donors opposed to Trump and then supporters of Hillary Clinton.
The FBI, in its investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, was also planning to hire him but did not end up doing so, according to reports. Nonetheless, the dossier served as a basis for a surveillance warrant against former Trump foreign policy campaign adviser Carter Page, according to CNN.
When asked by subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) whether he found the dossier to be “credible,” Clapper responded, “We didn’t make a judgment on that and that’s one reason why we did not include it in the body of our intelligence community assessment.”
The FBI has come under scrutiny by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for considering hiring Steele to do work he was also paid by Fusion GPS to do.
Grassley said the FBI’s relationship with Steele raises questions about its “independence from politics.”
“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote in a letter to FBI Director James Comey on March 28, according to the Washington Examiner.
Ian Mason contributed to this report.