Fox News host hits Giuliani: Dossier isn't why Mueller probe was started

Fox News host Shep Smith on Wednesday fact-checked President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE's lawyer Rudy Giuliani after he again claimed that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation started with the so-called Steele dossier.

In an interview on Fox News on Monday, Giuliani claimed that former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanNew book: Putin tried to reinforce Trump’s belief in a ‘deep state’ undermining him Retired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump Rand Paul ramps up his alliance with Trump MORE brought the dossier to the special counsel's attention, kicking off the more than yearlong investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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"Much of Giuliani’s attack on Brennan involved the dossier compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steele, that the administration has repeatedly asserted was what began the Russia investigation," Smith said on Wednesday. 

"It was not," Smith continued. "The Russia investigation began after the former Trump policy adviser George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosFlynn sentencing move spurs questions about duration of Mueller probe Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Trump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe MORE told an Australian diplomat that the Russians had dirt on his then-political opponent Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPompeo: 'We've not been successful' in changing US-Russia relations Michael Moore ties Obama to Trump's win in Michigan in 2016 The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? MORE. That information was passed on to intelligence officials." 

Giuliani, who often claims Mueller's probe began with the Steele dossier, on Monday said Brennan is the mastermind behind Mueller's investigation. 

Two days later, Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance

"The guy running it is Brennan," Giuliani said Monday. "Brennan took an affidavit, a dossier that unless he's the biggest idiot intelligence agent that ever existed — although he never did much intelligence work — it's false. You can look at it and laugh at it." 

"That led to the request for the investigation," he continued. "So, he takes a false affidavit, a false dossier, he gets the senators involved, and a couple of Republican senators, and they demand an investigation. A totally phony investigation." 

Smith cast doubt on Giuliani's assertions that the dossier is "laughable."

"For context, the research in the dossier includes 17 memos produced by the former spy Christopher Steele," Smith said. "They allege misconduct and a conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election."

"Some assertions in the dossier have been confirmed," he continued. "Other parts are unconfirmed."

"None of the dossier, to Fox News’s knowledge, has been disproven," Smith added.

Multiple former intelligence officials have said the dossier did not instigate the FBI’s investigation into Russia's election interference or provide a basis for the intelligence community assessment.

Trump's associates have sought to write off the investigation as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt" since its beginning. The probe so far has resulted in indictments or guilty pleas for 32 people and three Russian companies.

Updated on Aug. 16 at 6:31 a.m.