Former FBI director James Comey said he could not recall who originally told him about the Steele dossier in an interview with FOX News Channel's Bret Baier on Thursday. Comey said he first heard of its existence "in the media" and only learned about its true extent after a "reliable source" informed the Bureau and getting a copy of it sometime before the 2016 election.
Comey ultimately said it "wasn't important" which political opponents funded it. He also revealed he never briefed President Obama who funded the dossier nor of its actuality. Comey said, however, he was present during a discussion where DNI Clapper told Obama.
"When the Steele dossier comes out, sometime early July, when did you personally learn about the memos and the dossier?" Baier asked.
"Sometime in the fall. I don't remember exactly when," Comey answered.
"So who told you about it?" the host asked.
"I don't remember," Comey said. "Somebody on my senior staff."
"Do you remember how they were described?" he asked.
"I remember they briefed me about it, explained that it came from a reliable source, former allied intelligence officer," Comey said of the infamous document. "I remember being given a copy of it. I don’t remember whether it was September, October, sometime in that period of time."
Comey said he only knew what he did about the Steele dossier because he had "seen it in the media." He said he knew Republicans had first funded it, but never knew about any Democratic party involvement.
"When did you learn that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign had funded Christopher Steele's work?" Baier asked.
"I still don’t know that for a fact," Comey said about when he learned the DNC funded the Christopher Steele dossier. "I’ve only seen it in the media. I never knew exactly which Democrats funded. I knew it was funded first by Republicans."
"But that’s not true," Baier jumped in.
"I'm sorry," a confused Comey said.
"The dossier that Christopher Steele worked on was funded by Republicans," Baier told him.
"My understanding was his work started funded as oppo research funded by Republicans," Comey told Baier.
"So [Washington] Free Beacon said that they had Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS on a kind of a retainer but they did not fund the Christopher Steele memo or the dossier. That was initiated by Democrats," Baier said to Comey.
"My understanding that the activity was begun, that Steele was hired to look into was first funded by Republicans, then picked up, the important thing was, picked up by Democrats opposed to Donald Trump," the fired director said.
"Did you tell President Obama about the dossier, who it was funded by?" Baier asked.
"No, not to my recollection," Comey said.
When Baier asked if he wanted to know who funded it, Comey said it "wasn't important."
"I wanted to know what I knew which is it was funded by people politically opposed by Donald Trump. Which particular opponents didn't matter to me," he said.
"So you still to this day don't know that it was funded by the DNC or the Clinton campaign?" Baier asked.
"I've read that in the media but I didn't know for a fact and didn't know while I was at the FBI which exact opponent of the president's funded that," Comey said.