This is highly unusual apparently.
Courtesy of NYT:
Attorney General William P. Barr recently approved making public new details about a former F.B.I. informant at the heart of conservatives’ allegations about the Russia investigation, deciding to release information that had been blacked out in a highly anticipated inspector general’s report due out on Monday.
A representative from the office of the Justice Department inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, told the former F.B.I. informant, Christopher Steele, on Sunday that the Justice Department had decided to allow for the release of the information, two people briefed on the situation said late on Sunday.
Mr. Steele was given no details about the information itself, nor was he told how it would affect the report’s portrayal of him, the people said. Mr. Horowitz is expected to be critical of Mr. Steele, a British former spy who compiled a dossier of salacious, unverified information about President Trump. F.B.I. officials relied to some degree on the dossier to seek a court order for a wiretap of a former Trump campaign adviser, and the president’s allies have seized on the issue to make broad claims about the sprawling Russia investigation.
The notice to Mr. Steele on the eve of the report’s release was highly unusual. Like the other witnesses interviewed for the inspector general’s report, Mr. Steele had earlier reviewed the findings that are pertinent to him, and he was given a chance to comment on them. In this case, Mr. Horowitz’s office did not detail for him the additional information and gave him no opportunity to respond for the report to be released on Monday.
It is not know why the Steele information was originally blacked out, nor exactly why it has been declassified now.
The best guess would be that Barr hopes that it can be used to attack Christopher Steele’s character and attempt to undermine his dossier.
However we now also know that the IG report will debunk the idea that the FBI relied on the Steele dossier to launch their investigation of some members of the Trump campaign.
Despite that attacks on the dossier seems to be a theme with the Republicans.
Courtesy of NBC:
Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, issued subpoenas to a U.S. firm involved in the Donald Trump dossier without consulting the Democrats on the committee, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News.
A source close to Fusion GPS, a firm co-founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, confirmed to NBC News that its partners had received subpoenas from the committee. And a Democratic congressional source told NBC News that the subpoenas were issued unilaterally by the Republicans “despite good faith engagement thus far by the witnesses on the potential terms for voluntary cooperation.”
“This is a blatant attempt to undermine the reporting of the so-called ‘dossier,’ even as its core conclusion of a broad campaign by the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election has been confirmed by the U.S. intelligence community and is now widely accepted as fact,” Joshua Levy, a lawyer for Fusion GPS, told NBC News in a statement.
It is interesting that the Trump Administration and their Republican supporters are so focused on undermining the Steele dossier since the Democrats are basing almost all of their hearings on Trump’s attempts to coerce the Ukranian government into helping him dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son.
It makes one wonder if they are simply stuck in the past or are worried that there is more damaging information in that report than we have previously been led to believe.
Or perhaps, and this is actually more likely, this is simply all they have to work with.