In a recently released transcript of a House Intelligence Committee interview conducted during the Russia probe in 2017, an unnamed special agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said ex-British spy Christopher Steele was barred at one point from assisting the agency with its inquiry.
Steele had previously compiled a dossier on President’s Trump‘s relationship with Russia that had not been determined by the FBI to be accurate. Despite this, the FBI used the document to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant application renewals.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., questioned the unnamed agent about Steele’s involvement in the investigation during a Dec. 20, 2017, hearing. The agent claimed the bureau severed ties with Steele because of an article that ran on Mother Jones, according to the transcripts.
“I think it was November 2 or 3, there was an article in Mother Jones online magazine that was clearly problematic,” the agent said. “Basically, the source, the individual, who wasn’t named… but we all knew [it] was Steele, had went [sic] to the press to talk about what he had been doing. It was either that day or the very next morning I called him to confront him.”
The unnamed agent claimed Steele admitted he was the source for the article, which caused the agency to cut ties.
“I told him, you know, you are no longer considering — don’t consider yourself being tasked by us,” the agent continued. “You are not working on our behalf. You are not to collect any information on behalf of the FBI. I said, you know, the relationship will end. You know, this was because of his violation of the agreement that we had made back on October 3.”
The agent added: “I also told him he was not being paid. There was a payment that he was expecting at that point, and I said that that’s not going to happen.”
Swalwell asked if Steele had shared his reasons for why he spoke to Mother Jones, and the agent said it might have been a matter of money or it could have been a response to former FBI Director James Comey‘s decision to reopen the email investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I assumed he was angry because of the money. He hadn’t been paid,” the agent explained. “He had made a comment maybe once or twice during the month like, you know, when is it going to happen, this and that. Nothing unusual.”
The agent added: “So I asked him, l said, ‘Was it because of the money?’ And he goes, ‘No. The money is secondary.’ And then l said, ‘Okay. Why?’ And this was over the phone. He goes, ‘l’m very upset with the actions of your agency and with the actions of your agency on Friday.’ The Friday before was when Director Comey came out and announced that he was reopening the email investigation. And so that was the first time I had heard anything of any type of leaning whatsoever in terms of his attitude or bias.”
It was also revealed last month that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team that investigated the Trump 2016 campaign received multiple indications that Steele’s dossier was part of an elaborate “Russian disinformation campaign,” according to several declassified footnotes from Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on FBI misconduct.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and Gregg Re contributed to this report.