The Steele Dossier — key evidence the FBI used to justify spying on a Trump campaign figure in 2016 — was based in part on Russian disinformation, two top senators revealed, citing newly declassified footnotes from an inspector general’s report.
Republican Sens. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, both committee chairmen and top investigators, said that given the Steele Dossier was funded by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, that means they were actively responsible for spreading Russian disinformation that has plunged the country into political turmoil for much of the last three years.
While the work of British ex-spy Christopher Steele had long been suspected of being tainted by Russian disinformation, the new revelation is the first official confirmation, and it comes from the Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s authoritative report on the FBI’s bunglings.
The information was contained in several footnotes in the report, which had been redacted from the public release, but which were made public Friday.
“These footnotes confirm that there was a direct Russian disinformation campaign in 2016, and there were ties between Russian intelligence and a presidential campaign — the Clinton campaign, not Trump’s,” Mr. Grassley and Mr. Johnson said.
Footnote 350 says Mr. Steele’s reporting about the activities of former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen were “part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations.”
The footnote also says information on Mr. Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow was falsified by Russian intelligence, then injected into the American political conversation.
The Steele dossier explicitly cited Russian officials for some of its most salacious details, but the newly released footnotes officially label them to be disinformation and raises further questions about the dossier.
An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.
Mr. Steele was working for Fusion GPS, which was being paid by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to gather dirt on Mr. Trump.
The FBI learned that one of Mr. Steele’s sources for the dossier was linked with Russian intelligence, but…