Former Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy left Democrats stunned on Tuesday and blew a major hole in the Russia investigation.
During an interview on Fox News with host Martha MacCallum, Gowdy revealed that the FBI cited articles and information from longtime Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal to “corroborate” claims made in the salacious, unverified dossier.
Gowdy noted that the Clinton campaign paid millions to fund the dossier and even used Blumenthal, their top fixer for years, to help “verify” the stories by spreading rumors to media figures.
When the media reported on the info he spread, it made it seem as if allegations against President Donald Trump were true.
But as Gowdy detailed, none of major allegations in the dossier have been confirmed, meaning Clinton’s team spread lies about the president to the media as part of their “get Trump” strategy.
And Obama’s FBI still used this information, in part, to launch the Trump-Russia investigation.
“I’ve seen the spreadsheet, Martha, I have seen each factual assertion listed in that dossier, and then I’ve seen the FBI’s justification. And when you’re citing newspaper articles as corroboration for a factual assertion that you have made, you don’t need an FBI agent to go do a Google search,” Gowdy said.
“When the name Sidney Blumenthal is included as part of your corroboration, and when you’re the world’s leading law enforcement agency, you have a problem.”
Blumenthal, who is one of the Clintons’ closest political allies, was involved in shopping around a report that contained some of the same allegations about Donald Trump that were included in Steele’s document. That eight-page report was authored by Cody Shearer, another longtime Clinton insider who is close friends with Blumenthal. (RELATED: Clinton Fixer’s Second Dossier Was Met With Skepticism)
Both Shearer and Blumenthal are considered controversial figures. Shearer first came to prominence in the early 1990s after he peddled false allegations that then-Vice President Dan Quayle bought marijuana from a man who was in prison at the time. Blumenthal helped stoke false rumors in the 2008 campaign that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.
Like Steele, Shearer cited sources who claimed the Russian government had sexually compromising material on Trump. No evidence has emerged supporting the claim, which Trump has vehemently denied.
Shearer’s two memos, which he put together in September and October 2016, made their way to the FBI through Steele.
Blumenthal provided Shearer’s reports to Jonathan Winer, a State Department official who was Steele’s main contact to the agency. Winer gave Shearer’s document to Steele, who in turn gave the document to the FBI. The Guardian reported Jan. 30, 2018, that Steele gave the FBI the Shearer information because he was asked to turn over any intelligence he had about Trump that might corroborate his own reporting.
Steele provided Winer with information from his own Trump investigation. Winer set up a meeting for Steele at the State Department Oct. 11, 2016. He has since left government.
Gowdy’s comments came one day after Attorney General William Barr appointed a federal prosecutor to investigate how the Russia witch hunt began and whether the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016 was legal.
Barr appointed John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to look into the origins of the Russia investigation and the FBI spying on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.