(NationalSentinel)Â Politics: FBI Director James Comey hasn’t made too many people on either side of the political aisle very happy over the pastÂ year, and theÂ angst has now extended into the new administration.
Much of what he has said and done has been viewed as highly political in nature – completely out of character for a federal law enforcement agency that used to pride itself on being completely independent and non-partisan. Take the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server: Comey was all over the place, laying out what appeared to be an air-tightÂ case for prosecutionÂ in a revealing (and rare) public statement July 5, 2016,Â only to claim no “reasonable prosecutor” would make the case (not his call, by the way).
In any event, he’s now being scrutinized for make conflicting statements regarding the infamous “Trump dossier” that contained numerous unsubstantiated and often salacious claims about Trump and his inner campaign circle. As reported byÂ The Daily Caller:
Ahead of a highly anticipated Senate hearing later this week, FBI Director James Comey is being accused of making inconsistent statements about the bureauâ€™s relationship with Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy behind the Trump dossier.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the allegation in a letter sent to Comey on Friday.
â€œThere appear to be material inconsistencies between the description of the FBIâ€™s relationship with Mr. Steele that you did provide in your briefing and information contained in Justice Department documents made available to the Committee only after the briefing,â€ Grassley wrote to Comey.
Grassley and other members of the panel will get the chance to ask Comey about his bureau’sÂ conflicting statements.
The Judiciary Committee chief has regularly pressured the FBI director regarding reports that his department cooperated with Steele and even offered the former British spy $50,000 to continue his research on Trump, then a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
Reportedly, FBI agents met with Steele in July and again in October to talk about what he allegedly found – all of which was eventually laid out in a 35-page document thatÂ Buzzfeed published in January (Buzzfeed is now being sued by a Russian tech firm and others mentioned in the unsubstantiated dossier).
The dates July and October are noteworthy too. Earlier reporting noted that the FBI attempting to obtain a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court (FISA) to put Team Trump under electronic surveillance; the court did not grant the warrant in July, reports said, but did so in October. Aspects ofÂ this investigation are still being probed by House and Senate intelligence committees.
As for Grassley, he says he’s concerned about what kind of cooperation was going on between Steele and the FBI because the British spy was gathering Trump-relatedÂ “intelligence”Â at the time on behalfÂ an opposition research firm (Fusion GPS) that was in turn working for an ally of Hillary Clintonâ€™s,Â The Daily SignalÂ noted further.
â€œThe idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBIâ€™s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administrationâ€™s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,â€ Grassley wrote in a March 6 letter to Comey.
Whether the “inconsistencies were honest mistakes or an attempt to downplay the actual extent of the FBIâ€™s relationship with Mr. Steele, it is essential that the FBI fully answer all of the questions from the March 6 letter and provide all the requested documents in order to resolve these and related issues,â€ Grassley wrote.
Many of the claims made in the dossier have been proven false, whileÂ most others have been unsubstantiated.