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

Fox News host Shep Smith on Wednesday fact-checked President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE's lawyer Rudy Giuliani after he again claimed that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 BrennanThe CIA's next mission: Strategic competition with China and Russia Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Still in the game: Will Durham's report throw a slow curveball at key political players? 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 PapadopoulosTrump supporters show up to DC for election protest Trump pardons draw criticism for benefiting political allies Klobuchar: Trump 'trying to burn this country down on his way out' MORE told an Australian diplomat that the Russians had dirt on his then-political opponent Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonI voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' 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.