The Russia connectionMore evidence dossier did not start Russia investigation

Published 20 September 2018

ABC News’ latest reporting corroborates the now well-known fact: The Christopher Steele’s dossier was not the impetus for the FBI’s Russia investigation.

ABC News’ latest reporting corroborates the now well-known fact – consistently challenged by President Trump and his allies without any evidence – that Christopher Steele’s dossier was not the impetus for the FBI’s Russia investigation. 

… [I]n July 2016, Steele sent the FBI agent in Rome the opposition research on Trump he generated working for Fusion GPS.

The Rome-based agent then forwarded the reports to an agent he worked with in the FBI’s New York field office – an agent with expertise in criminal organizations and organized crime, not counterintelligence, sources told ABC News.

That was “the wrong person” to send the reports to, according to one source briefed on the Russia probe.

Steele’s research sat for weeks in the FBI’s New York field office, hundreds of miles away from the agents in Washington scrutinizing ties between Trump’s associates and the Russian government, sources said.

“It took a long period of time for the New York field office to see it and realize what it was,” another source told ABC News, referring to the “dossier.”

An account of the FBI investigation released in February by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee reflected the delay.

“Steele’s reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks after the FBI opened its investigation, because the probe’s existence was so closely held within the FBI,” the memo by House Democrats said.

“By then, the FBI had already opened sub-inquiries into [multiple] individuals linked to the Trump campaign,” including Carter Page,” the memo noted.

In particular, the FBI was also already taking a close look at Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort.


In mid-September 2016, Peter Strzok, the now former FBI agent who was helping to lead the Russia probe, received an “initial batch” of Steele’s reports.

“The first time I am aware of the FBI having that information – the first time I saw it – was in mid-September,” he recently told lawmakers under oath.

In the days afterward, [former FBI Director James] Comey himself was briefed on Steele’s findings, according to Comey’s public statements.