The Justice Department plans to issue another report after the release of the Mueller report -- this time focused on Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.
Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz has been investigating the FBI’s efforts to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page based partly on information from Steele, Politico reports. Steele had been a confidential source for the FBI since 2010.
Horowitz is expected to release a report on his findings as soon as next month.
According to the report, Horowitz’s probe has been “intensely focused on gauging Steele’s credibility as a source for the bureau.” A former US official who was interviewed by Horowitz’s team told the outlet he got the impression that the report “is going to try and deeply undermine” Steele, who worked as a Russia specialist for MI6 for over two decades.
Steele plans to fight back:
Politico reports that Steele intends to fight back if Horowitz attacks his reputation in the report.
“With his reputation on the line, Steele—who has not commented publicly on the Trump-Russia investigation—intends to rebut the Inspector General’s characterizations, if necessary, in the form of a rare public statement, according to people familiar with his plans,” the outlet reported. “He declined to be interviewed by the inspector general, citing, among other things, the potential impropriety of his involvement in an internal Justice Department investigation as a foreign national and former British intelligence agent. Steele’s allies have also repeatedly noted that the dossier was not the original basis for the FBI’s probe into Trump and Russia.”
Carter Page was on FBI radar since 2013:
Though the investigation is focused on whether the FBI used the Steele dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant on Page, the former Trump adviser was on the FBI’s radar since 2013, Politico reported, when he interacted with undercover Russian intelligence agents in New York.
Page traveled to Moscow in 2016 during the campaign, raising suspicions further. The FBI filed a surveillance warrant for Page in October 2016.
Horowitz is also looking at Justice Department Bruce Ohr, who Steele communicated with about the dossier.
Ohr told lawmakers at a closed-door interview last year that Steele told him Russia’s spy service “had Donald Trump over a barrel.”
“When I receive information from Chris Steele I'm not going to sit on it,” Ohr told lawmakers. “I've got to give it to the FBI.”