Gowdy: Did Obama Justice Department Rely On Steele Dossier To Get FISA Warrant?


House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy weighs in on the evidence of Trump-Russia collusion and wonders about whether the "Steele dossier" was used as evidence to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump associates during the 2016 campaign.

CHRIS WALLACE: Let's turn to the revelation this week that it turns out that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the opposition research that led to the writing, the formulation, of this Russian dossier that has made all kinds of accusations against President Trump and his campaign.

What do you think is the significance of that revelation?

GOWDY: Well, one of the areas of significance is just how hard the Democrats in Congress fault Republicans for trying to gain access to this information. If it were up to Adam Schiff and other Democrats, who, of course, want all the facts to come out, they want all the facts of Russia to come out, except who finance the dossier. So, that's the most important thing to me is how unserious the Democrats in the House have been about uncovering all of the facts.

I am interested in who paid for the dossier because that helps you understand motive and intent and whether or not you can rely on the document. I am much more interested in whether or not the Department of Justice and the FBI relied upon that dossier and initiating a counterintelligence investigation or in court findings. That is really important to me.

I don't expect the DNC to be objective. Almost by definition, opposition research is not objective. I do expect an entity represented by a blindfolded woman to be objective. And if they relied on that dossier and they didn't corroborate it or vet it, then we have a serious issue and that's the next thing that House Intel is trying to find out, is whether or not the U.S. government relied on it.

WALLACE: Yes. Let me ask you about that, because your -- what -- the two points you are making, and I agree, these are two very important questions. Did the FBI based its original investigation, at least in part of the dossier? And when you talk about court representations, that's the possibility that they use the dossier to convince a FISA court to allow the FBI to wiretap people in Trump world, Trump associates.

Do you have any evidence of that? I understand the investigation is just beginning.

GOWDY: Well, actually, the investigation is not just beginning. We've been trying for a long time to get the Department of Justice to give us access to this information, and frankly it took the speaker of the House this week to tell the department that we're not going away. You know, Chris, people don't like it when I say this, but it's actually true -- it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between the Obama Department of Justice and the current Department of Justice in terms of transparency and their willingness to share information with Congress.

This is a really simple request. Did you rely on the dossier? And if so, did you vet it before you relied upon it? You can answer that in 30 seconds. But it's taken three months for the Department of Justice, and only recently have they agreed to give us the information.

So, the battle is not just with House Democrats. Unfortunately, it's also with the Department of Justice, the access of the information we need to wrap up this investigation.

WALLACE: What about the fact that the Clinton campaign and the DNC, which paid $12 million for the law firm, Perkins Coie, that paid for the opposition research that led to the dossier, that in the FEC filings, it simply says $12 million to Perkins Coie, the law firm, for legal work? No mention of the fact that it was also paying for oppo research that went to Christopher Steele, former British intelligence agency -- agent that went to the Kremlin. Not the money to the Kremlin, but his investigation.

As I understand it, that willful misrepresentation of campaign expenditures is a criminal offense.

GOWDY: Well, I'm not an election law expert, Chris, but the good news is you don't have to be to understand the absurdity of believing that you can launder all of your campaign money by just hiring a law firm. I mean, imagine if you and I were running for Congress and we just hired a law firm and said, hey, you go to all the oppo, you go buy all the television, you go buy all the bumper stickers, you go hire all the experts, and we're going to launder all of this through a law firm. I can't think of anything that defeats the purpose of transparency laws more than that.

So, I am interested in that, and I am also interested in sharing some memory tricks with folks at the DNC because no one can remember who paid $10 million to a law firm to do oppo research. I find that stunning. Ten million dollars and no one can remember who authorized it, who approved it, who said, this is a really good idea?

So, you've got two issues, a memory issue, and then the lack of transparency by laundering money through a law firm.

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