Grassley probes FBI's ties to British spy who investigated Trump

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa) has opened an inquiry into allegations the FBI worked with the British spy who authored a controversial opposition research dossier on President Trump during the 2016 election.

In a Monday letter to FBI Director James Comey, Grassley asked for records pertaining to any agreements the agency may have had with Christopher Steele. The MI6 agent wrote an explosive memo on behalf of Trump’s political enemies alleging that the Russians had compromising information on the president.

Comey briefed Trump on the existence of the memo in a private meeting in January.

ADVERTISEMENT
Shortly after, several news organizations published the unverified allegations, which the White House denied. 

In late February, The Washington Post reported that the FBI reached an agreement with Steele whereby the British spy would continue his investigation on behalf of the bureau.

“While Trump has derided the dossier as 'fake news' compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with Steele shows that the bureau considered him credible and found his information, while unproved, to be worthy of further investigation,” the Post reported at the time.


Grassley is pushing back and demanding the FBI provide information pertaining to its use of the British spy, whose salacious allegations have infuriated Trump and his allies.

“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote.

“It is additionally troubling that the FBI reportedly agreed to such an arrangement given that, in January of 2017, then-Director Clapper issued a statement stating that ‘the [intelligence community] has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.’”

In his letter, Grassley asks for all records regarding Steele’s investigation, details of the agreement between the FBI and Steele, the FBI’s policies for using outside investigators, and whether the bureau has relied on any of the information Steele has provided in seeking warrants.