A former House Intelligence Committee staffer who helped uncover FBI misdeeds in the Trump-Russia probe said that Republicans lured Rep. Adam Schiff into releasing information that showed the FBI misled Congress about how the bureau used the infamous Steele dossier for its investigation of the Trump campaign.
Kash Patel, who served as a chief investigator for Rep. Devin Nunes, said in a recent interview that Republicans strategized the release of a February 2018 memo regarding the dossier in hopes that Schiff would release a rebuttal memo of his own.
“Adam Schiff took the bait and put so much more information in his memo than we did in ours, because we knew we would be able to use that information later and prove how wrong they were. It would just take a little bit of time,” Patel said in an interview for The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders.”
“So that was the strategy behind it.”
In their memo, Republicans said that the FBI failed to verify allegations in the dossier before using the salacious document to obtain spy warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Republicans also accused the FBI of failing to disclose that the Clinton campaign and DNC funded the dossier, which was authored by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Patel said that his team decided while writing their memo that they would spring the document on Democrats during a committee meeting in January 2018.
“What I said was, ‘Okay, let’s also be a little strategic about this, because if we write one, they’re going to want to write one, which is okay,’” Patel said.
“Let’s bait them into it. Let’s not tell them yet. We’ll follow the rules and inform them at a committee hearing,” Patel recalled telling his colleagues.
Patel said that Democrats were “shocked” that Republicans had been working on the memo.
Schiff and Democrats on the Intelligence panel responded as Patel had hoped by releasing a 10-page memo of their own rebutting the Republican document.
A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general (IG) released on Dec. 9, 2019, punched several holes in Schiff’s memo.
It said that the FBI made at least 17 “significant” errors and omissions in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against Carter Page. The report also said that the Steele dossier was a “central and essential” aspect of the FISA applications.
Schiff had insisted in his memo that the FBI “did not…omit material information.” Schiff’s memo also said that the FBI made only “narrow use” of the Steele dossier, and that the bureau undertook a “rigorous process” to validate Steele’s claims.
The IG report and a report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller debunked the dossier’s core allegation of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Schiff was an early proponent of the collusion conspiracy theory. In March 2017, he said that he had seen “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
A spokesman for Schiff did not respond to a request for comment.