House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) defended past comments he made touting the infamous Steele dossier — a report compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele alleging close ties between the Donald Trump camp and Russia in the course of the 2016 campaign — during an appearance on Meet the Press Sunday, days after an analyst behind the study was arrested for lying to the FBI about his sources.
Schiff told host Chuck Todd he didn’t regret stating in the past that Steele’s claims should be investigated, saying “we couldn’t have known” years later that a primary source had apparently lied.
It comes days after analyst Igor Danchenko, a key source behind the Steele dossier, was arrested and pleaded not guilty to five felony counts for allegedly providing false information to the FBI.
The charges were brought by Special Counsel John Durham as he investigates the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia ties, two and a half years after being appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr.
“I don’t regret saying that we should investigate claims of someone who frankly was a well-respected British intelligence officer. And we couldn’t have known of course years ago that we would learn years later that someone who was a primary source lied to him,” Schiff told Todd. “But what I just said, the clip you just played, ends up being exactly right, which is Steele did reveal that the Russians were trying to help elect Donald Trump. That turned out to be all too true. And in fact the Trump campaign chairman was giving internal campaign polling data to Russian intelligence while Russian intelligence was trying to help elect Donald Trump. So the top line there of Russian help and Trump willingness to accept it, make use of it, proved all too accurate.”
Buzzfeed News first published the so-called Steele dossier in January 2017, which was then covered heavily by other outlets. Several claims in the document have since proved false. Steele had been hired by the private research firm Fusion GPS, which had itself been hired by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
“I’m prepared to accept that not everything in the dossier is 100% accurate,” Steele told ABC News in an interview last month.
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The judge in Danchenko’s case set a trial date in April.
“Steele dossier source pleads not guilty” (Politico)