If the FBI did not initiate its investigation into allegations of Trump until July, 2016, why did the FBI produce a document dated in February, 2016.
Over the weekend, the FBI produced 71 pages of documents (available as a pdf download from FBI Vault) regarding its relationship to Christopher Steele as pertains to the Russia investigation. Virtually every document is entirely redacted in relevant part — for which someone in the document production chain should be jailed, I might add. Be that as it may, the final document provided is not fully redacted. It memorializes an “admonishment” to Steele that, as I understand it, explains to him limits upon his actions while working as a confidential informant. The date on that document is 2 February 2016.
That date is inexplicable within the Trump-Russia timeline.
As I’ve previously pointed out on this blog, Glen Simpson testified (see Transcript, p. 77) that he was approached by DNC’s outside attorney, Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, to do opposition research on Donald Trump in “May or June” 2016. That is when Simpson has testified that he hired Steele.
Steele’s first report generated out of that relationship was dated 20 June 2016, and Simpson has testified that Steele subsequently provided that to the FBI, initiating his relationship with the FBI as a confidential informant. If one reads the recently released — and itself highly redacted — FISA warrant for Carter Page, that timeline, at least by sequence of events, is attested to in the FISA warrant (page 16).
This is a huge issue. If the date on that admonishment is accurate, then it goes to whether the FBI had any justification for opening its investigation of Trump and whether or not this was, for lack of a better phrase, a Beriaesqe strike: “Show me the Republican candidate for President, I’ll find you the crime.” Moreover, it conflicts with the information the FBI provided the court in the FISA warrant.
The FBI needs to answer this mystery.
Update: At another site, they point out that the admonishment could be in relation to work Steele was doing on another case. The only prior case — at least as has been made public to date — wherein Steele, in his capacity as a private citizen, conducted an investigation and provided that information to the FBI was in the case brought by DOJ against FIFA in 2015. Presumably, Steele would have received the same “admonishment” in that case, thus there would not be a need to redo it. Or if regulations require such an admonishment in each new case where Steele is involved as a private citizen acting as an informant, then why not one in July, 2016, when supposedly the Trump investigation began?
There may well be a reasonable explanation for this 2 February 2016 “admonishment.” But at this point, is anyone besides Adam Schiff willing to take a bald assertion from FBI or DOJ as an answer?