On Monday Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, this letter sparked speculation, among conservatives outlets, as was reported by Steve Wood from The News Blender.
The letter asks for Director Wray to clarify seven emails sent between then Deputy Director FBI, Andrew McCabe, then FBI director, James Comey, James Rybicki, who was Comey’s Chief of Staff, David Bowdich current Deputy Director of the FBI, and the former head of Public Affairs for the FBI, Michael Kortan. The dates of the emails, January 6th-10th.
January 6, 2017, 9:44 a.m. FBI Chief of Staff Jim Rybicki sent an email to unspecified recipients stating, “the director is coming into HQ briefly now for an update from the sensitive matter team.
January 6, 2017, afternoon. Director Comey met with President-elect Trump.
January 7, 2017. Director Comey memorialized his discussion with President-elect Trump via an email to senior FBI leadership. Director Comey wrote, “I said there was something that Clapper wanted me to speak to PE [President Elect] about alone or in a very small group.” Director Comey wrote, “I then executed the session exactly as I had planned,” and “I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook.”
January 8, 2017, 12:08 p.m. Then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe sent an email to senior FBI leadership with the subject line “Flood is coming.” Mr. McCabe wrote,
“CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story. . . . The trigger for them [CNN] is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment.”
January 8, 2017, 12:55 p.m. Mr. McCabe emailed then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and then-Principal Deputy Attorney General Matthew Axelrod with the subject line “News.”Mr. McCabe wrote, “Just an FYI, and as expected, it seems CNN is close to running a story about the sensitive reporting.”
January 10, 2017. CNN published a story entitled “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.” The article explained that the President-elect received the briefing on the contents of the Steele Dossier.
January 10, 2017, 6:20 p.m. BuzzFeed News published the contents of the Steele Dossier.
Senator Johnson has Five Questions he would like answered by Director Wray.
First, who were the members of the “sensitive matter team.”
Second, when and how did the FBI first learn that media outlets including CNN, might have possession of the Steele Dossier.
Third, he asks Wray to produce any documents that might have been prepared of the briefing of then President-elect Trump about the Steel Dossier on January 6th.
Fourth, he’d like any follow-up documentation sent between Comey and James Clapper, including their staff, referring to or relate to Comey’s January 6th briefing President-elect Trump.
Fifth, he requests all documents and communications between or among FBI and other Executive Branch Officials relating to the “sensitive matter” or to Comey’s communication about the existence of the Steel Dossier.
The CNN News reported titled “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him” was published according to their article and website on January 12th. The article lays out part of the contents of the Steel Dossier, it does not publish them at the time, Buzzfeed, releases the memos to the public in full. The article also explains that, “spokespeople for the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. Officials who spoke to CNN declined to do so on the record given the classified nature of the material.” It adds that Mother Jones, one week before the election published some of the allegations contained inside the Steele Dossier.
On April 19th, memos that James Comey as then FBI director wrote after several meetings with then President-elect Trump, and President Trump were leaked to the public. In Comey’s first memo, dated January 6th, 2017, he explains to the President-elect, that these memos exist, that media naming CNN is looking for a news hook:
I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or and that we were keeping it (redacted) and that we were keeping it very close-hold.
The memos can be found @ The News Blender.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has until June 4th, 2018 to respond to the letter.