The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for documents related to the unverified dossier on President Trump, the FBI’s relationship with the dossier’s author, and the FBI’s possible role in supporting the dossier.
The subpoenas were sent on August 24 and gave the FBI and the Justice Department until September 1 to turn over information, according to the Washington Examiner. Neither turned over any information, and the committee has extended the deadline to September 14.
But the committee issued two more subpoenas on Tuesday, specifically to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, directing them to appear before the committee to explain why they have not provided the subpoeanaed information.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told the Washington Examiner that it had previously sent multiple letters requesting information, but “got nothing.”
“A subpoena is a tool of last resort in Congress,” he said.
The dossier, which contained salacious claims about then-candidate Trump and Russia, was reportedly used by the FBI to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump’s campaign members in its investigation of Russian meddling in the election.
“I want to know the extent to which it was relied upon, if at all, by any of our intelligence agencies or federal law enforcement agencies,” said Gowdy, “and to the extent it was relied upon, how did they vet, or either corroborate or contradict, the information in it?”
The FBI also reportedly had considered paying the dossier author Christopher Steele, an ex-British spy with Russian contacts.
The dossier was commissioned by Fusion GPS, a firm co-founded by Wall Street Journal reporters, and reportedly originally funded by Trump opponents, and then donors who supported Hillary Clinton. After the election, the FBI had reportedly expressed interest in continuing funding research for it, but it’s not clear whether any payment was ever made.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is also looking into the dossier. During a committee hearing in July, witness and champion of a sanctions bill against Russia Bill Browder said Fusion GPS had been paid by Russia to conduct a smear campaign against him.
Gowdy called the dossier “the origin of the Russia investigation,” and vowed to get to the bottom of it.
“It is not illegitimate for us to ask what prompted this investigation, and it is certainly not illegitimate for us to test and probe the reliability of that underlying information, particularly if, in theory, there are either charging decisions and/or court filings that relied upon that information,” he said.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking member told CNN after the Washington Examiner article was published that the subpoenas were issued over his objection and were designed to “undermine” claims about the Trump campaign and Russia.