This won’t represent any kind of a shock to anyone who has been paying attention to this story over the past couple years but it’s one more confirmation that the Steele Dossier and the Russian collusion story it presented was always a fundamentally political document generated to impact the outcome of an election. In October 2016, Christopher Steele admitted as much in a meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec. After the meeting, Kavalec wrote a summary of what was discussed. From the Hill:
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec’s written account of her Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with FBI informant Christopher Steele shows the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded British intelligence operative admitted that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline.
And that confession occurred 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s now-discredited dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the campaign’s ties to Russia.
Steele’s client “is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” the date of the 2016 election, Kavalec wrote in a typed summary of her meeting with Steele and Tatyana Duran, a colleague from Steele’s Orbis Security firm. The memos were unearthed a few days ago through open-records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United.
The summary has been heavily redacted but here’s the part you can see:
The summary didn’t say who the institution was who hired him but we know he was compiling the dossier for the DNC and the Clinton campaign. And of course that would fit with the description of an institution that “had been hacked.” But the key line is the one about the institution being keen to get the information out prior to the election. Simply put, Steele was working for the DNC and the DNC wanted the dossier out in time for it to damage Trump.
As it happened, some elements of the dossier did get out before the election. Steele gave quotes for a story published by Mother Jones in October 2016. But it probably wasn’t the impact the DNC was hoping for. That would come later, after the election.
This meeting was held with Steele 10 days before the FISA warrant on Carter Page, suggesting it was an open secret by that time that the dossier was partisan material intended to impact the election. If only the warrant had been as blunt as Steele apparently was in the warrant. Remember the infamous footnote on page 16 of the warrant was full of weasel words:
Well, here’s what the application does say in a footnote on page 16 (we’ve added the names where the document leaves them out):
“Steele was approached by an identified U.S. person, who indicated that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding (Trump’s) ties to Russia.”
The footnote goes on to say that “the identified U.S. person never advised (Steele) as to the motivation behind the research into (Trump’s) ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit (Trump’s) campaign.”
Does anyone see “Clinton” or “DNC” or “opposing presidential campaign” mentioned?
Instead, the footnote is full of weasel words. The FBI “speculates” that he “was likely” looking for information that “could discredit” Trump.
How do you square this circle? Steele told Kavalec the people who hired him were eager to see the Russia/Trump story get out before the election. But the warrant submitted 10 days later said he was never advised as to the “motivation behind the research.” Why was the FBI speculating when it seems Steele had told people at State what the goal was?