One of the most scandalous parts of the anti-Trump dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele ahead of the 2016 election was the alleged existence of a “pee tape” — compromising video evidence held by Russia said to involve then-businessman Donald Trump and Russian prostitutes at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow.
According to a report from Breitbart, it has now been revealed — through emails published in the Justice Department inspector general’s report — that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pushed to have that wild claim included in an official Intelligence Community document and was supported in that effort by former FBI Director Jim Comey.
The “pee tape” and the ICA
On Jan. 6 of 2017, the Intelligence Community — comprised of the CIA, FBI, and NSA and overseen by the Director of National Intelligence — published a joint assessment (ICA) of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election that was used to brief then-President Obama and then-President-elect Trump.
Previous media reports had indicated that there had been some dispute between the FBI and other agencies over whether Steele’s “election reporting” should be included in that ICA — with the “pee tape” being a particular focus — with all sides essentially accusing each other of pushing to have it included.
According to Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s recently released report, however, it has now been determined — based on emails sent by McCabe and Comey — that it was those two now-disgraced FBI leaders who tried — and failed — to have the uncorroborated sexual allegations about Trump included in the main body of the ICA. The controversial claims were ultimately consigned to a separate appendix of the larger document.
McCabe pushed for inclusion
On page 177 of Horowitz’s report, there is a section pertaining to the efforts made by McCabe and Comey to include Steele’s allegations in the main body of the ICA. The CIA didn’t want to include Steele’s material, as it had been deemed as nothing more than an unproven “internet rumor” that, at best, should only be included in the separate appendix.
During the drafting process of the ICA, the FBI’s Intel Section Chief wrote in an internal email about McCabe: “DD [Deputy Director] wants the [Steele] reporting included in the submission with some level of detail, to include the newest stuff that [Supervisory Intel Analyst] can send you on the red side. Include details like the potential compromising material, etc. Can you please add a section ( characterizing [Steele] obviously) in coordination with [Supervisory Intel Analyst]?”
There was an internal debate over whether to submit just the information on Russian election interference or to also include the allegations against Trump. McCabe won that debate, and the salacious material was included in the FBI’s draft submission, which was then sent to Comey for final approval before being submitted to the DNI.
In an email from Comey approving the submission, he wrote: “Thanks. Looks okay to me. FYI: During a secure call last night on this general topic, I informed the DNI that we would be contributing the [Steele] reporting (although I didn’t use that name) to the IC [Intelligence Community] effort. I stressed that we were proceeding cautiously to understand and attempt to verify the reporting as best we can, but we thought it important to bring it forward to the IC effort.” He went on:
I told him the source of the material, which included salacious material about the President-Elect, was a former [REDACTED] who appears to be a credible person with a source and sub-source network in position to report on such things, but we could not vouch for the material. (I said nothing further about the source or our efforts to verify).
Comey added: “I added that I believed that the material, in some form or fashion, had been widely circulated in Washington and that Senator McCain had delivered to me a copy of the reports and Senator Burr had mentioned to me the part about Russian knowledge of sexual activity by the President-Elect while in Russia. The DNI asked whether anyone in the White House was aware of this and I said ‘not to my knowledge.’ He thanked me for letting him know and we didn’t discuss further.”
As previously noted, the Steele reporting was not included in the final ICA, a decision to which McCabe objected in an email to DNI staff as he continued to argue for its inclusion. In the end, McCabe failed to convince the DNI to include the information, and it was instead Comey who stuck around after the Jan. 6, 2017 briefing of Trump about the ICA to inform him of the allegations put forward by Steele. That was then seized upon by the media as an excuse to move forward with reporting on the unverified dossier and its wild claims.
The dispute over responsibility has now been settled — it was Comey and McCabe who were behind the effort to publicize and use to their advantage against Trump the disgusting allegations regarding a “pee tape” and Russian prostitutes — a baseless allegation the IG ultimately determined was nothing more than a joke over drinks at a bar that was never supposed to be taken seriously, let alone included in official intelligence documents.