The Senate Intelligence Committee found that the FBI gave the unverified anti-Trump dossier “unjustified credence,” and that Russia “took advantage” of members of the Trump transition team’s “relative inexperience in government” in its final report as part of its years-long bipartisan Russia investigation.
The panel on Tuesday released the fifth and final volume of its five-part report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Over the last three years, the Senate Intelligence Committee conducted a bipartisan and thorough investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and undermine our democracy,” Acting Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement Tuesday. “We interviewed over 200 witnesses and reviewed over 1 million pages of documents.”
He added: “No probe into this matter has been more exhaustive.”
“We can say, without any hesitation, that the Committee found absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election,” Rubio said. “What the Committee did find, however, is very troubling.”
Rubio detailed the committee’s findings, which included “irrefutable evidence of Russian meddling” and “deeply troubling actions taken” by the FBI, “particularly their acceptance and willingness to rely on the ‘Steele Dossier’ without verifying its methodology or sourcing.”
The committee found that the FBI gave the dossier, authored by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, “unjustified credence, based on an incomplete understanding of Steele’s past reporting record.
“The FBI used the dossier in a FISA application and renewals, and advocated for it to be included in the Intelligence Community Assessment before taking the necessary steps to validate assumptions about Steele’s credibility,” the committee found.
The findings come after the first charge in U.S. Attorney John Durham’s case pertaining to former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith misrepresenting a detail in those FISA applications
But the committee said Tuesday that members of the 2016 Trump campaign presented “intelligence” targets.