Flynn collusion ruled out, Steele dossier debunked in January 2017, more than two years before Mueller announced it.
The piecemeal release of FBI files in the Russia collusion investigation has masked an essential fact: James Comey’s G-men had substantially debunked the theory that Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Moscow by the time the 45th president was settling into the Oval Office, according to declassified memos, court filings and interviews.
And that means a nascent presidency and an entire nation were put through two more years of lacerating debate over an issue that was mostly resolved in January 2017 inside the bureau’s own evidence files. The proof is now sitting in plain view.
In rapid fire sequence in January 2017, U.S. officials:
- received multiple warnings about the credibility of informant Christopher Steele and his dossier;
- affirmed key targets of the FBI counterintelligence investigation made exculpatory statements denying collusion to undercover sources;
- concluded retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, was not engaged in collusion with the Russians.
The latter revelation has mostly escaped much notice, contained in a single sentence in a once-sealed court motion filed by Flynn defense attorney Sidney Powell that requested what is known as Brady material, or evidence of innocence.
That motion dated Sept. 11, 2019 requested access to “an internal DOJ document dated January 30, 2017, in which the FBI exonerated Mr. Flynn of being ‘an agent of Russia.’”