At a Wednesday hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General William Barr said his department is reviewing whether the discredited Steele dossier is evidence of a Russian disinformation campaign. Asked about that possibility by Sen. John Cornyn (R–TX) Barr noted he was “concerned about it.”
Cornyn prefaced his inquiry to Barr by noting Christopher Steele’s links to the Clinton campaign in 2016, describing him as “a former British intelligence officer hired to do opposition research by the Hillary Clinton campaign on her political adversaries including President Trump, or candidate Trump at that time.” The Steele dossier was used in 2016 by the FBI to obtain the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants on Carter Page, who had worked previously for the Trump campaign.
“How do we know that the Steele dossier is not itself evidence of Russian disinformation campaign, knowing what we know now, that basically, the allegations made therein were secondhand, hearsay, or unverified?” Cornyn asked Barr. “Can we state with confidence that the Steele dossier was not part of the Russian disinformation campaign?”
In his response to Cornyn, Barr said the Justice Department is reviewing that possibility.
“No, I can’t state that with confidence,” Barr told the committee. “And that is one of the areas that I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it, and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative.”