Strzok says the salacious Trump-Russia dossier is not why the FBI’s Russia investigation was launched

FBI agent Peter Strzok faced tough questioning on the Trump-Russia dossier on from the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

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FBI agent Peter Strzok faced tough questioning on the Trump-Russia dossier on from the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
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Thomson Reuters

  • FBI official Peter Strzok on Thursday said in sworn testimony to the House Judiciary Committee that the salacious Trump-Russia dossier is not why the FBI launched its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
  • Strzok, who is being accused by Republicans of injecting anti-Trump bias into the Russia probe, faced tough questioning on the subject of the dossier over the course of Thursday’s hearing.
  • The dossier, compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steele at the behest of the research firm Fusion GPS, is 35 pages long, and alleges that the Kremlin had been “cultivating, supporting, and assisting” President Donald Trump for years under the direct supervision of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

FBI official Peter Strzok on Thursday said in sworn testimony to the House Judiciary Committee that the salacious Trump-Russia dossier is not why the FBI launched its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida asked Strzok, “The dossier. Was the dossier a part of why you opened up the investigation?”

Strzok, without hesitating, replied, “No.”

DeSantis then said, “So, the dossier was not part of it. That’s important.”

Strzok, who is being accused by Republicans of injecting anti-Trump bias into the Russia investigation, faced tough questioning on the subject of the dossier over the course of Thursday’s hearing.

The FBI official was also grilled by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan over an email he wrote referencing the controversial dossier. But Strzok would not answer questions about the dossier, however, asserting the FBI told him not to.

Republicans have sought to discern whether the FBI had contact with Fusion GPS, which was hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic party to do opposition research on Trump before it hired Steele, about the dossier. Originally, Fusion GPS was hired by Trump’s Republican opponents to do research, but after he became the party’s nominee Democrats began funding it.

The dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele at the behest of the research firm Fusion GPS, is 35 pages long, and alleged that the Kremlin had been “cultivating, supporting, and assisting” President Donald Trump for years under the direct supervision of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Some parts of the dossier have been confirmed, but much of the details it contains remain unverified. This includes allegations Trump rented a Moscow hotel room and hired Russian prostitutes to perform provocative acts in a bed former President Barack Obama reportedly once stayed in.

There are concerns that if the information the dossier contains is legitimate it could be Trump is susceptible to blackmail by the Russian government.

The dossier was leaked to BuzzFeed News in January 2017 after Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona obtained it and turned it over to the FBI in late 2016.

The FBI launched its Russia probe in July 2016, looking into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in its election interference. Trump and his allies have contended the investigation is a “witch hunt” inspired by the dossier, but Strzok’s comments on Thursday directly contradict this assertion.