There are some important things the public doesn't know about the so-called "Trump dossier," such as whether the FBI used information from the dossier to win court permission to spy on Americans. But the most important question about the dossier is the simplest: Is it true? In a seven-hour interview with the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly declined to answer whether the bureau has been able to verify the substantive allegations in the dossier, or even to identify a substantive allegation that has been corroborated, according to sources familiar with the questioning.
The dossier portion of the interview began with McCabe being asked if he thought the dossier met the standard of credibility the FBI required to open an investigation. McCabe said he believed it did. He said on more than one occasion that the FBI had worked hard to verify the dossier, telling lawmakers that the FBI had at one point sent investigators to London as part of the effort.
On a number of occasions, when asked about what in the dossier had been corroborated by the FBI, McCabe gave answers such as -- these are not precise quotes -- I can't answer that, or I don't know how to answer that. Indeed, that was McCabe's answer when he was asked for the most important piece of information in the dossier that the FBI had been able to verify.
This reporting contradicts earlier reporting that claimed McCabe admitted that nothing in the dossier had been validated:
At one point, McCabe was reminded that another top FBI official had months ago told the House that the bureau had not been able to corroborate the dossier. McCabe's response was noncommittal.
After the questioning established that McCabe would not verify any substantive allegation in the dossier, he was asked if he stood by its veracity. McCabe said he did.
And that was the gist of the questioning on the dossier. McCabe never claimed the FBI had verified the substantive allegations in the dossier, but he also never said the FBI had not been able to verify the dossier's explosive allegations, either.
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