In the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, the FBI offered to pay former British spy Christopher Steele “significantly” for collecting intelligence on Michael Flynn, according to the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross.
The FBI’s proposal – made during an October 3, 2016 meeting in an unidentified European city, and virtually ignored by the press – has taken on new significancein light of recent documents exposing how the Obama administration targeted Flynn before and after president Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The inspector general’s report, released on Dec. 9, 2019, said that FBI agents offered to pay Steele “significantly” to collect intelligence from three separate “buckets” that the bureau was pursuing as part of Crossfire Hurricane, its counterintelligence probe of four Trump campaign associates.
One bucket was “Additional intelligence/reporting on specific, named individuals (such as [Carter Page] or [Flynn]) involved in facilitating the Trump campaign-Russian relationship,” the IG report stated.
FBI agents also sought contact with “any individuals or sub sources” who Steele could provide to “serve as cooperating witnesses to assist in identifying persons involved in the Trump campaign-Russian relationship.”
Steele at the time had provided the FBI with reports he compiled alleging that members of the Trump campaign had conspired with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. –Daily Caller
Of note, Steele was promoting a discredited rumor that Flynn had an extramarital affair with Svetlana Lokhova, a Russian-British academic who studied at the University of Cambridge. This rumor was amplified by the Wall Street Journaland The Guardian in March, 2017.
According to the Inspector General’s report, the FBI gave Steele a “general overview” of their Crossfire Hurricane probe – including their efforts to surveil Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, along with Paul Manafort and Flynn. In fact – some FBI agents questioned whether the lead agent told Steel too much about the operation, according to the IG report.
In recent weeks, the release of two documents raise questions about potential links between the FBI’s request of Steele and the Lokhova rumor.
One of the documents is a transcript of longtime John McCain associate David Kramer’s interview with the House Intelligence Committee. Kramer testified on Dec. 17, 2017, that Steele told him in December 2016 that he suspected that Flynn had an extramarital affair with a Russian woman.
“There was one thing he mentioned to me that is not included here, and that is he believed that Mr. Flynn had an extramarital affair with a Russian woman in the U.K.,” Kramer told lawmakers.
Kramer said that Steele conveyed that Flynn’s alleged mistress was a “Russian woman” who “may have been a dual citizen.”
An FBI memo dated Jan. 4, 2017, contained another allegation regarding Flynn and a mysterious Russian woman.
The memo, which was provided to Flynn’s lawyers on April 30, said that an FBI confidential human source (CHS) told the bureau that they were present at an event that Flynn attended while he was still working in the U.S. intelligence community. –Daily Caller
Lokhova and Flynn have denied the rumors – with Lokhova’s husband telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that he picked his wife up after the Cambridge dinner where an FBI informant said they ‘left together in a cab.’
Meanwhile, a DIA official who was at the Cambridge event with Flynn also told the WSJ in March 2017 that there was nothing inappropriate going on between Flynn and Lokhova.
Read the rest of the report here.