Former President Donald Trump has once again criticized the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), calling for arrests to be made over the controversial Steele dossier. This unverified report was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele during the 2016 election campaign.
It claimed that Russia had been cultivating Trump for years. The dossier was released in January 2017 and alleged that Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort and other members of Trump’s campaign had worked with the Kremlin to dig up dirt on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
The Special Counsel John Durham, who had been investigating Trump’s alleged Russian collusion, interrogated FBI supervisory analyst Brian Auten in October 2022 on whether the FBI had ever offered Steele incentives in exchange for information.
Auten confirmed that the FBI had in fact offered Steele up to one million dollars. According to Auten, Steele was made the $1 million offer by the agency in October 2016 during a meeting between the former British spy and several FBI officials. Durham’s report, released on May 12, concluded that the FBI never should have investigated Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
This report has been seen as a victory for Trump and his supporters, who have long viewed the Crossfire Hurricane probe as a political witch hunt. Durham agreed with Trump that there was no solid evidence of collusion when the investigation began. The DOJ and FBI were heavily criticized by Durham for failing to uphold their important mission, adding that the origins of the probe were based on raw and unanalyzed intelligence. Representatives for Trump, the FBI and DOJ declined to comment when contacted by Newsweek.
Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election, has been extremely critical of the FBI and DOJ since the release of the report. On Sunday evening, he took to his TruthSocial platform to call for arrests and accused the FBI of paying Steele to frame him. Trump said, ‘The FBI offered Christopher Steele One Million Dollars in order to FRAME me. Why aren’t all of the so-called Special ‘Prosecutors’, together with their bosses at the DOJ, doing something about this? Why aren’t people under arrest?’
While gathering information for his dossier, Steele acted as a private citizen and was hired by Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the political research firm Fusion GPS. Steele claimed that Trump ‘said some weird things about [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.’ Steele’s claims are not unique, as informants working for the FBI are often paid. Steele maintains that the FBI’s probe was not the result of the dossier, though the information contained within the dossier was included as part of a 2019 report from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion probe.
The Horowitz report also revealed that Steele’s dossier was partially funded by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee to unearth information that could damage Trump’s reputation. Trump and his supporters have seized on this information, arguing that Steele’s claims are politically motivated. Trump has also demanded that Special Counsel Jack Smith and the DOJ drop their criminal investigation following the release of the Durham report. In response to these demands, the FBI has said that ‘dozens of corrective actions’ have already taken place within the bureau.
The Steele dossier has been a contentious issue ever since its release in 2017. Many conservative Americans believe that the dossier was part of a broader plot to undermine Trump’s presidency. They feel that this dossier was used as the basis for the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that the probe was placed on a political trajectory from the outset.
Critics of the Republican Party argue that Trump is trying to use the Durham report to rewrite history. They point out that Trump has a history of attacking federal law enforcement agencies and that he has consistently tried to discredit the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. They believe that Trump is using his attacks on the FBI and DOJ to build his base and rally support ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
Trump’s criticism of the FBI and DOJ has been criticized by both Democrats and Republican moderates, who feel that Trump is undermining the core principles of American democracy. They argue that it is critically important for the country’s leading law enforcement groups to operate independently, without fear of political retribution or interference.
Some legal experts have noted that Durham’s report does not exonerate Trump completely. While it does condemn the FBI’s conduct leading up to and during the investigation, it does not rule out the possibility of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. These experts suggest that Trump’s claims of complete vindication are premature and that further investigations may be necessary to determine the full truth of the matter.
Despite these differing opinions, it is clear that the controversy surrounding the Steele dossier and the Crossfire Hurricane probe is not going away anytime soon. Trump and his allies are sure to continue drumming up support by criticizing the FBI and DOJ, while their critics will continue to push for accountability and transparency.
It is worth noting that the conclusion of the Durham report has been viewed by some observers as a victory for the rule of law in America. The report demonstrates that no one, not even a sitting president, is above the law. It shows that federal law enforcement agencies can be held accountable for their actions and that impartial investigations into potential wrongdoing are absolutely necessary to maintain the integrity of American democracy.
The Durham report will likely be discussed and debated for years to come. Many Americans will view it as a crucial turning point in the history of American law enforcement agencies, while others will see it as a partisan attempt to undermine the FBI and DOJ. Regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, there is no denying that the Steele dossier and the Crossfire Hurricane probe will remain a significant part of American political history for years to come.
It is critically important for Americans to remain engaged and informed about events like these. The Durham report is a reminder that our democracy is only as strong as our commitment to transparency, accountability and impartiality. It is up to all of us to hold our leaders and institutions to the highest standards of conduct and to work tirelessly to ensure that our country remains a beacon of hope and justice for generations to come.
As the country heads into the 2024 presidential election, it is important that we all remain vigilant and aware of the challenges facing our nation. We must prioritize unity and bipartisanship, while also holding our elected officials accountable for their actions. By working together, we can help ensure that America continues to be the greatest democracy in the world.
The Steele dossier controversy and the Crossfire Hurricane probe have been some of the most divisive issues in recent American political history. They have highlighted the deep polarization that exists in our society and the importance of transparency and accountability in government. The Durham report may not have put an end to this controversy, but it has made it clear that no one is above the law, and that justice will always be served in America.
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