Rep. Stewart casts doubt on probe into Russian election meddling

Rep. Chris Stewart, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that the controversial Fusion GPS dossier, which alleges connections between the Trump campaign and Russians during the 2016 election, cannot be trusted. He claims the information it contains may have been assembled with the help of Russian agents.

“Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid Fusion GPS. They hired and used a foreign agent who, in my opinion, had contacts with, and worked with Russian agents” to produce the information in the dossier, said Stewart. He quickly added, “We haven’t found any evidence of that yet. It’s just my opinion.”

Later, when asked by to clarify his remarks, Stewart walked back what sounded like a bombshell claim, saying that he was just trying to point out the irony of the situation.

“Everyone is claiming that the Trump campaign worked with the Russians, but this document may have been assembled with the help of Russian agents,” he said.

Stewart says he came to that conclusion because Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who assembled the dossier, formerly worked in counterintelligence against the Russians. Stewart says it only stands to reason that he would have been in contact with Russian agents to gather the information.

“For a year, we heard the word ‘collusion’ over and over. You don’t hear that anymore because there simply isn’t evidence,” said Stewart.

The so-called Steele dossier and Fusion GPS, the firm that produced the document, have come under increasing criticism from Congressional Republicans, who question the veracity of the information because it was partially paid for by Democrats doing opposition research on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. However, the firm was first hired by the Washington Free Beacon, a Republican website, during 2016 to dig up dirt on Trump.

Now, Republicans are turning their attention to whether law enforcement and US intelligence agencies used the information in the dossier to illegally surveil targets in the U.S.

“The far more concerning thing is whether the FBI accurately reflect the information in the dossier when they asked a FISA court for a warrant?” said Stewart. “Did the FISA court accurately question the accuracy of that information? If they didn’t fulfill those responsibilities, then that’s a problem.”

Stewart says he’s worried that the US intelligence and law enforcement apparatus may be nothing more than a political tool for opponents of President Trump.

“We are peeling back an onion. When it comes to the politicization of the FBI and the DOJ and the CIA, their leadership may have turned into political operatives. We cannot allow that to go unanswered if that’s true,” he said.