FBI officials who had been investigating alleged Trump-Russia collusion did not agree with the highly publicized intelligence community conclusion that Moscow had meddled in the election to help Trump, according to newly obtained bureau memos and emails.
The initial claim was the all 16 intelligence agencies were in agreement, but that number was later corrected to four.
Now, the documents show FBI officials concluded there was not enough intelligence to support the January 2017 findings, .
Carter noted there is no dispute that the Kremlin meddled in the elections, but the assertion that its intent was to aid Trump has been the source of controversy.
She observed that while FBI officials, including FBI Director James Comey and lead investigator Peter Strzok, were disputing the findings of CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper behind closed doors, the public believed the FBI agreed with the assessment.
Text messages indicate, nevertheless, that Strzok was still intent on proving that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
And Comey, as did Strzok, believed the unverified dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele should have been part of the Intelligence Community Assessment titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.”
Strzok expressed concern about the CIA assessment in an appearance before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2016.
Carter reports that shortly after, on Dec. 10, 2016, the FBI received an email inquiry from a reporter asking if it was true that the FBI was uncertain about the CIA’s assessment that Russia was trying to help Trump.
Strzok sent an email to the FBI press office.
“We did not have information to differentiate what their ultimate goal was,” he wrote, noting that Comey gave the Senate Intelligence Committee the same answer.
“In other words, the activity is one-sided and clear but we can’t say the sole and primary purpose was specifically intended to help someone, hurt someone else or undermine the process. The reality is all three,” he said.
Carter noted that “when the declassified version of the IC Russia report was made public Jan. 6, 2017, the FBI had already addressed members of Congress, but it wouldn’t be until these emails and texts that the public would know the extent of the concerns.”
Strzok’s paramour, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, acknowledged recently in a closed-door congressional interview that after nine months of investigation, the FBI found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.