The FBI has not said whether the dossier prompted its investigation, which was opened the same month Steele handed over his dossier, according to congressional testimony.
“Fact is, I’ve opened many cases on the basis of information that was a lot less detailed than what was in the dossier, from sources a lot less reliable,” Montoya said. “That is the whole point of conducting an investigation … to determine if the information is valid, or not.”
In the 18 months since the investigation began, the Justice Department has charged four Trump associates for financial-related crimes and lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians; the U.S. intelligence community has published a 25-page report on Russian efforts to boost “Trump’s election chances” and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process;” and U.S. officials have testified countless times before Congress in open hearings.
The Steele dossier, made up of at least 17 individual reports from the months before and after the 2016 presidential election, is not mentioned in the charges filed, the government report published a year ago, or testimony offered by U.S. officials.
“The dossier wasn’t used at all” to conclude that Russia meddled in the election and worked to boost Trump’s candidacy, Brennan told a national security forum last year. “It wasn’t part of the [body] of intelligence information that we had,” he also told lawmakers.
Steele was hired by Simpson after his firm, Fusion GPS, signed a contract with a lawyer for the Democratic National Committee to conduct research on Trump. The firm’s initial client was a Republican.
While the 35 pages that comprise Steele’s dossier are brimming with explosive and explicit claims based on unidentified sources, some of the dossier’s broad implications — particularly that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an operation to boost Trump and sow discord within the U.S. and abroad — now ring true and were embedded in the memo Steele shared with the FBI before the agency decided to open an investigation.