Steele, a MI6 Russia specialist for more than two-decades, has worked with the FBI as a confidential source since 2010. According to the report, he will retain the services of a top American attorney if the interview goes ahead, and is only willing to discuss the narrow scope of his dealings with US intelligence. Steele also wanted US officials to seek the approval of the British government.
Overall, despite the limitations, it may be worthwhile to go ahead with the interview while pursuing other avenues of investigation into Steele's activities.
UPDATE 1: I don't get how this would work (below). How would speaking to OIG--which is certainly carries the threat of prosecution for false statements--let Steele off any hook, or limit his criminal exposure? If Steele speaks to OIG it will be a voluntary interview, not compelled, so there's no immunity. OIG has no authority to grant immunity--they're not prosecutors and can't make those decisions.
That would let him off the hook for lying about leaking to the press and his dealings with Clinton/DNC + State / other agencies Also limits his criminal exposure by not talking to Durham
UPDATE 2: CTH has a thorough summary of what's behind this: IMPORTANT Report: Christopher Steele Willing to Cooperate With U.S. Investigators… which is worth reading for its own sake. The main point is that Steele's testimony could expose FBI lying:
His testimony could be a key issue to expose corruption within the FBI that was previously identified by Senator Chuck Grassley. The FBI said Christopher Steele never told them he was shopping his dossier to the media; however, Christopher Steele told a British court the FBI was fully aware of all his media contacts, and they used the dossier anyway.
Christopher Steele had no motive to lie to the FBI about his media contacts.
The FBI had tons of motive to lie about their knowing Steele talked to the media.
It’s just common sense.
Christopher Steele wasn’t meeting in secret with the media, it was well known.
He was traveling around to meet them in August and September 2016. Why would he lie to the FBI about such transparently well known action in October? Answer: He wouldn’t.
Of course this doesn't affect the fact of Brit involvement in the Russia Hoax. OTOH, that wouldn't have happened without the active encouragement of our own IC, so I'd have to put the priority on exposing that.
As commenter Yancey Ward states, the fact that this story is coming out while Trump is in London is probably no coincidence. It probably represents the American takeaway from a deal that's been reached, with the Brit takeaway left unspoken:
- Americans get to interview Steele, thus receiving some help in exposing IC corruption. And possibly unpublicized cooperation as well.
- Brits get assurances that their full involvement won't be revealed.
UPDATE 3: Joe DiGenova spoke on Hannity tonight and had some major clarifications regarding Steele's deal to testify to US authorities. The big clarification is that Steele will be talking to Durham and Durham's people. Which makes sense. As I stated above, I couldn't see the point of talking to Horowitz, I couldn't see the difference it would make:
Well, he [Steele] obviously made a strategic decision because he’s going to be interviewed by John Durham. It’s not the inspector general from the Department of Justice who is going to talk to him. Because he doesn’t have any reason to talk to Mr. Horowitz. He’s going to talk to John Durham and his people. So there’s obviously been some sort of deal that’s been worked out. This is great news. According to some reports there are limitations on his testimony. I can't believe Durham would agree to such limitations. But this is what's important: he has to tell the truth to Durham, because even though his testimony will be given overseas, he can be indicted in the United States if he lies to Durham. So I assume he’s going to tell the truth now because this is the big casino now. And what he’s going to prove is the FBI lied in the FISA warrants, and they lied to Congress and they lied to everybody about what they knew about Steele’s behavior. The walls are beginning to close in on the FBI fraudsters.
In the same panel discussion, Victoria Toensing stated that the OIG report is being delayed because IG Horowitz has run into difficulties getting documents from FBI Director Chris Wray--surprise!
Presumably it's sloppiness and inattention to detail, but I laugh every time Steele is characterized as a 'confidential source' in media. He's nothing of the sort--he's an agent, a conduit purportedly transmitting information. A source, however qualified, is someone with first-hand knowledge of evidence they've observed. Steele is a repository of hearsay, which may have investigatory value as a lead, but is meaningless until substantiated and verified.ReplyDelete
Or am I missing something...
Gossip columnist to the Deep State? Or something like that?Delete
I suspect that Steele wants to tell how much he helped in previous cases -- poisonings of defectors, international soccer corruption, etc. He wants to tell his old war stories.ReplyDelete
Steele did not write his Dossier for "US Intelligence". Rather, he wrote it for Fusion GPS, a private company.
In relation to RussiaGate, Steele will tell the OIG only about his meetings with Bruce Ohr, Kathleen Kavalec -- meetings about which the OIG already is well informed.
Steele will **NOT** tell the OIG the identities of his "sources" -- Source A, Source B, Source C, Source D and Source E -- because that information is outside his "dealings with US Intelligence".
All true, but it might be worth questioning him on his dealings with the FBI and DoJ. I'd particularly like to see him questioned re the September meeting which Andrew Weissmann and Zainab Ahmad attended with Steele. I always regarded that as a FISA planning meeting and that Steele was told to come back with a story about Michael Cohen in Prague--which he did in his very next "report." If anything useful on that subject alone could be obtained it might be worthwhile forgoing the rest.Delete
Steele will be accompanied to the interview by a Deep State selected attorney who will prevent any testimony that could potentially compromise their interests or overtly incriminate any of the coup conspirators. This interview is being done simply to create the appearance of cooperation by the British government, which was requested to intervene by Trump. Horowitz would be wise to produce a video and transcript of the interview for later use in characterizing the degree of cooperation provided by Steele. Steele will do everything he possible can to shield Ohr and Brennan, but if he does nothing more than stonewall, Barr would do will to indite him and seek extradition. My guess is that his going to have to offer up something of value in order to save his skin.ReplyDelete
And indictment for false statements to the US Government (1001), such as the Cohen in Prague story, would be my preferred solution. That can be done whether or not he's forthcoming in an OIG interview.Delete
I would prefer such an indictment EVEN IF he's cooperative to that limited extent.Delete
A delaying tactic? Every time in hear the IG is close then some new eminent of the story is discovered.ReplyDelete
As a practical matter, he'll never be extradited because -- "everlasting friendship." I know that's BS, but that's why. So, what's left open is 1) accept what's on offer, 2) tell the Brits to shove it and declass everything. The problem with #2 is that we'd end up revealing what our Deep State has been up to, going all the way back to at least Dubya. I'm not arguing equivalency, but I am saying that there are vested interests that go under the heading of "bipartisan" that would be against it. I'd be surprised if even Barr would be on board with that. It's a can of worms. I'm for throwing the whole thing open, but I'm skeptical that can happen. Don't ask me about the future.Delete
I doubt it is a coincidence this story appears as Trump is in London.ReplyDelete
Agreed. See updates.Delete
Regarding the update: Hasn't it been widely reported that the FBI used in the FISA warrant application that media had reported similar findings as were included in the Steele dossier, implying a corroboration--inasmuch as the reports were form the same source, namely Steele? You could say the effort was a conspiracy to corrupt (mislead) the FISA court into believing independent corroboration had occurred, attesting to the validity of the information, with a fabricated falsehood.ReplyDelete
Yes. But the FBI, naturally, tried to hide that.Delete