Scott wrote earlier today about the first day’s testimony in the trial of Igor Danchenko. I want to elaborate on the most significant point that emerged from the testimony of FBI supervisory intelligence analyst Brian Auten: the FBI offered Christopher Steele $1 million if he could come up with evidence to support the wild allegations in his “dossier” on Donald Trump. This at a time when the FBI knew that, to date, Steele had nothing.
TechnoFog has a summary and partial transcript of Auten’s testimony, which is worth quoting at length:
Auten was asked about the FBI’s efforts to corroborate the Steele allegations just before the first FISA application was submitted. He stated they looked through “FBI systems to determine whether or not we could verify, corroborate, confirm, or disconfirm the information in those reports.”
Durham then asked about corroboration:
Q: And between September 19th of 2016 and October 21st, when the FBI submitted the FISA application, were you able to confirm or corroborate in any of the FBI system the very serious allegations that were contained in the dossier reports?
The FBI also made inquiries with other members of the intelligence community to find corroborative information. They came up empty.
Q: And what can you tell the jurors about whether or not any of the intelligence agencies that the FBI contacted for corroborative information produced any corroborative information?
A: We did receive information back from a number of different agencies.
Q: Then, as to the information that you received back from the agencies, did they corroborate the specificity of specific allegations that were contained in the dossier reports?
A: Not corroborating the specific allegations, no.
Auten was also present for the FBI’s interview of Steele in October 2016, just weeks before the first FISA application was submitted.
Q: When you and Mr. Varacalli, and Mr. Gaeta, and Mr. Guessford met with Christopher Steele in early October of 2016, did Christopher Steele provide any corroborative information for the information that was contained in his reports, in the dossier reports?
A: Not for the allegations, no.
Then Durham asked about the FBI offer to pay Steele to corroborate his information – what we might call the “million dollar” question. Here is Auten’s testimony on that matter:
So Steele brought his “dossier,” which he was paid to fabricate by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. The FBI quizzed Steele and found that he had no evidence to back up the anti-Trump allegations in his paper. The bureau carried out its own investigation and could find nothing to support the anti-Trump claims. In a sane world, even assuming the FBI did not know that Hillary Clinton was behind the “dossier,” the bureau would have closed its investigation and moved on.
But no. Apparently desperate to discredit Donald Trump, the FBI joined the Clinton campaign in offering Steele $1 million if he could find something–anything!–on Trump.
We already knew that the Russia collusion hoax was the worst political scandal in American history, by far. But this meddling in a presidential election by federal law enforcement is utterly unacceptable. A number of FBI employees must have known of the offer to Steele, and someone at a senior level must have authorized the $1 million bribe. Auten’s testimony confirms, as we knew, that interest in the FBI’s plot against Trump, which went by the name Crossfire Hurricane, went to the very top of the agency. And we know that mid-level FBI employees like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page schemed to deny Trump the 2016 election or, failing that, to disable his nascent presidency.
Until now, I have thought that the FBI could be reformed. But this is too much. The rot goes too deep, and the FBI’s violation of the public trust is too comprehensive. The bureau should be shut down, the J. Edgar Hoover building should be razed to the ground, every FBI employee should be retired, and a brand new federal law enforcement agency, with new personnel and with far stronger controls to prevent meddling in domestic politics, should be established.