Thanks to newly declassified and released footnotes from Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, it is confirmed the FBI knew the Steele dossier -- a false document full of Russian propaganda that was cobbled together by Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign -- was used by agents to pursue FISA warrants even though it knew it was unreliable.
"Despite multiple reports in 2017 warning that claims in an anti-Trump dossier were 'false' and 'part of a Russian disinformation campaign,' the FBI continued to rely on the Democrat-funded opposition research to spy on a Trump campaign aide. The once-classified details contained in footnotes of the Justice Department Inspector General’s postmortem of the FBI’s flawed spying operation were unmasked at the repeated urging of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)," Grassley released Wednesday night.
"Earlier this month, the Justice Department provided the senators with a partially-declassified version of three footnotes following their January request, but key information detailing exactly when the FBI became aware of exculpatory intelligence reports remained redacted. The new material, provided with the assistance of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, sheds new light on the remaining redactions as well as additional information that was previously classified in the IG report," the release continues.
Details in the footnotes reveal the FBI knew the dossier wasn't credible before applying for FISA renewals on at least one Trump campaign official. This information was also known before the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Adding insult to injury, Russian intelligence officials were aware of Steele's investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016. This information helped Russia with disinformation campaigns against the United States.
"Having reviewed the matter, and having consulted the heads of the relevant Intelligence Community elements, I have declassified the enclosed footnotes. I consulted with the Attorney General William Barr, and he has authorized the ODNI to say that he concurs in the declassification insofar as it relates to DOJ equities," Acting DNI Director Richard Grenell wrote in a letter to Grassley and Johnson with the attached footnotes.
Further, the "FBI had open counterintelligence case on Steele’s key source, but failed to apprise the FISA Court" and "despite repeated warnings of tainted evidence, FBI continuously sought FISA renewals."
“As we can see from these now-declassified footnotes in the IG’s report, Russian intelligence was aware of the dossier before the FBI even began its investigation and the FBI had reports in hand that their central piece of evidence was most likely tainted with Russian disinformation,” Senators Grassley and Johnson said about the confirmed revelations.
“Thanks to Attorney General Barr’s and Acting Director Grenell’s declassification of the footnotes, we know the FBI’s justification to target an American Citizen was riddled with significant flaws. Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his team did what neither the FBI nor Special Counsel Mueller cared to do: examine and investigate corruption at the FBI, the sources of the Steele dossier, how it was disseminated, and reporting that it contained Russian disinformation," they continued.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the Democrat who bolstered the Special Counsel investigation and led the impeachment crusade against President Trump, has always maintained the FISA process used against the Trump campaign was done properly and legally. All of the evidence, further backed by the declassified footnotes, is to the contrary.
You can read the footnotes and Grenell's letter below.