Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified on Wednesday that the now-infamous Steele Dossier, which contained salacious allegations about then-candidate Donald Trump, was not the impetus for the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign – called “Crossfire Hurricane.”
While the dossier was not used to open the investigation, Horowitz said, it was used in applications for FISA warrants later in the investigation. Supporters of the president have routinely criticized former FBI Director James Comey for using the Steele Dossier to obtain and renew FISA surveillance warrants.
Horowitz’s report found that while there were several serious errors and omissions that occurred during the FBI’s investigation, it was not influenced by political bias and had a legal basis for being opened.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Horowitz whether the Steele Dossier played a role in opening the investigation. “Can we speak for a moment to the Steele dossier, the Steele file in this case? I believe you have a pretty definitive statement on what impact that had on the initiation of that investigation,” he asked. “What was your conclusion?”
Horowitz said that dossier was “not known” by the agents who launched the investigation and that it played no role in that decision.
“In terms of the initiation of the investigation, it had no impact. It was not known to the team that opened the investigation at the time they opened it.”
During his testimony, Horowitz expressed concern about the process the FBI engaged in to obtain FISA warrants to surveil members of the Trump campaign. Horowitz detailed 17 issues his team found with the FBI’s request to monitor Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as IJR has previously reported.
“I would not have submitted the ones they put in — no doubt about it.”
In November, it was reported that an FBI lawyer was under criminal investigation for altering a document related to the FISA request warrant for Page.
However, Horowitz assured Durbin that he conclusively determined that neither the dossier nor political bias played a role in the opening of the investigation.