Former FBI Director James Comey told senators on Wednesday that he wasn't aware of key exculpatory evidence in secretive spy applications made against a Donald Trump campaign associate.
Kevin Clinesmith admitted to changing the email to say Page was not an asset when a CIA employee had said he was.
“I did not know the nature of his relationship with the CIA," Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Comey also claimed that, despite the existence of the email attesting to Page's role as a CIA asset, he still isn't sure whether Page worked for the intelligence agency.
“I don’t think the record established that he worked with the CIA," Comey claimed.
Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) challenged that notion, telling him, "We have the email confirming he was a source for the CIA."
The warrant applications relied on a dossier put together by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who was being paid through a third-party by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Russians successfully targeted Steele, "because some Russian disinformation made its way into the Steele dossier."
Comey denied knowledge that the primary source was under investigation as a potential Russian spy dating back to 2009, that the source told FBI agents that statements attributed to him in the dossier were inaccurate, that the dossier contained Internet rumors, and that the dossier may have included Russian disinformation.
Comey said Crossfire Hurricane was opened on the basis of a warning from an allied nation that Trump's campaign had dirt on Clinton's campaign.
The FBI opened the investigation on July 31, 2016, after receiving information from a "Friendly Foreign Government" reporting that, in May of that year, Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos suggested the Trump team had received an offer from Russia that it could assist with an anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Clinton, according to Horowitz.
"That doesn't ring bells with me," Comey said.
Comey at one point told Graham that he wouldn't have signed the application to spy on Page if he knew what he knows now.
“No, not without a much fuller discussion about their disclosure obligations to the court," he said.