Newly released material exposes that James Comey’s FBI obtained information from a source that the wild and unsubstantiated “golden showers” claim about President Trump was not only false but was likely a product of Russian disinformation.
Earlier this week, two Republican senators released previously redacted footnotes to a Justice Department watchdog report that was partially declassified in December. It was not clear why the Justice Department classified the footnotes in the first place.
Footnote 350 contains this explosive detail:
A USIC report dated February 27, 2017, contained information about an individual with reported connections to Trump and Russia who claimed that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s sexual activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS (Russian Intelligence) “infiltrate[ing] a source into the network” of a who compiled a dossier of that individual on Trump’s activities.
The footnote, combined with previous disclosures inside the Justice Department’s Inspector General probe of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team investigating Trump, raises immediate questions about Comey’s personal involvement in promoting the embarrassing smear about Trump.
Christopher Steele’s dossier infamously claimed that while Trump was staying in the presidential suite at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow in 2013, the real estate mogul hired “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him.” The dossier claims Trump wanted to “defile” the bed because he learned that President Obama had used the same suite during a trip to Russia.
As Breitbart News reported, the IG report released in December revealed the FBI in January, March and May 2017 conducted interviews with the main source cited in Steele’s dossier and found glaring issues with the way Steele reported the “pee” claim. Now the newly declassified footnote adds a February date where the FBI documented more information showing the “pee” claim was false.
The timeline raises serious questions about Comey’s actions.
Firstly, during this period Comey signed successive applications to obtain FISA warrants to spy on Carter Page, a tangential advisor to Trump’s campaign. The FISA warrants repeatedly relied on the dossier authored by Steele which contained the “golden showers” claim. Steele was working on behalf of Fusion GPS, which was paid to produce the dossier by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee via the Perkins Coie law firm.
Second, there is no evidence that Comey ever shared his knowledge discrediting the “pee” claims with Trump. Instead, Comey admitted to making the repeated decision to push back against requests from Trump to investigate the origins of the infamous “pee” claim made inside the anti-Trump dossier.
During his prepared remarks for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, delivered on June 8, 2017, Comey related that he pushed back against a suggestion from Trump to investigate the dossier’s sexual claims.
The former FBI chief stated that following a January 6 Oval Office meeting with Intelligence Community leaders, Comey “remained alone with the President Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment.”’
It is clear Comey was referring to the dossier since he writes the “salacious and unverified” material was about to be publically reported by the news media. Four days after that briefing, the dossier produced by Fusion GPS was published by BuzzFeed.
In a private White House dinner with Trump on January 27, Comey says the topic of the “salacious material” again came up and he reveals that Trump was considering asking the FBI to investigate the origins of the claims. Comey pushed back against that idea.
During the dinner, the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them. He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen. I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.
Yet there is no evidence Comey later shared with Trump the FBI’s repeated findings discrediting the “pee” claim.
It is unclear why Comey saw fit to brief Trump on the “pee” claims in the first place. Comey and other former Obama administration officials presented the unusual briefing as a courtesy to Trump to warn him about the news media possibly publicly releasing embarrassing claims about the newly elected president. Questions have been raised on the need to include the dossier’s wild and unsubstantiated charges in the classified briefings.
It is not the usual job of the intelligence community to warn politicians about possible pending negative publicity.
Comey’s classified briefing was subsequently leaked to the news media, with CNN on January 10, 2017 breaking the story that the contents of the dossier were presented during classified briefings one week earlier to Trump and then-President Barack Obama.
Prior to CNN’s report leaking the briefings, which was picked up by news agencies worldwide, the contents of the dossier had been circulating among some major news media outlets, but the sensational claims were largely considered too risky to publish.
Comey’s briefing seems to have provided the news media with the hook to publish a story on the controversial dossier containing the infamous “Russian prostitute” claims as well as unsubstantiated charges of collusion between Russia and members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Just after CNN’s January 10 report on the classified briefings about the dossier, BuzzFeed infamously published the dossier’s full unverified contents.
The New York Times used CNN’s story to report some contents of the dossier the same day as CNN’s January 10 report on the briefings.
Meanwhile, the newly declassified footnotes raise further questions about the FBI’s conduct, showing the agency was aware of numerous flaws and red flags about Steele and his reporting at the time it used the dossier claims as an excuse to spy on Page.
Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin released the footnotes and put out a joint statement saying the details prove the FBI’s claimed justification to obtain the FISA warrants to spy on Page “was riddled with significant flaws.”
One footnote documents that the the FBI was alerted in 2017 that one of Steele’s allegations included in the dossier was “part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.” Meaning Steele’s wild charges about Trump may have been part of a Russian misinformation campaign.
Another footnote says the Russian Intelligence Service may have targeted Obris, Steele’s company, and that Russian intelligence was aware of Steele’s investigation into Trump.
That footnote states:
In late January 2017, a member of the Crossfire Hurricane team received information that RIS may have targeted Orbis and research all publicly available information about it.
However, an early June 2017 USIC report indicated that two persons affiliated with RIS were aware of Steele’s election investigation in early July 2016. The Supervisory Intel Analyst told us he was aware of these reports, but that he had no information as of June 2017 that Steele’s election reporting source network had been penetrated or compromised.
Another bombshell footnote documents the FBI was not only aware Steele’s dossier was potentially influenced by Russian “disinformation”, the agency also had information from sources totally denying some of Steele’s main claims.
The footnote reveals an “inaccuracy” about Steele’s claims about former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The “inaccuracy” is not listed in the footnote. Steele’s dossier claimed that Cohen met with Russian agents in Prague in the summer of 2016. After that charge was first revealed in media reports, Cohen released passport information showing he never traveled to Progue.
Before those footnotes, there were already questions about whether Steele’s so-called sources were a product of Russian misinformation.
As Breitbart News previously reported, a book by the co-founders of Fusion GPS disclosed that Steele was unable to travel to Russia because the Russian government had reason since 1999 to suspect he was an MI6 intelligence officer. The information raises questions about the credibility of any supposed information on Trump that could be obtained by Steele from alleged Russian sources given that Russia had already suspected his ties to British intelligence.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKlein_