FBI agent admits bureau is conducting internal probe in Trump-Russia investigation

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


An FBI agent has revealed for the first time that the FBI has been conducting an internal probe into its own Trump-Russia investigation known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”

The information came to light during testimony Tuesday in the trial of former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussman who is accused of lying to the FBI on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign in an effort to smear then-candidate Donald Trump, Fox News reported.

FBI Special Agent Curtis Heide confirmed during testimony that he is currently the subject of an internal investigation by the bureau for withholding potentially exculpatory information in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Heide did not specifically reference the person named in the FISA application at issue, but said that the information he’s alleged to have withheld was a “recording from one of the subjects.” 

“There are various consensual recordings … and the exculpatory information was not disclosed in the FISA court,” Heide testified, though he denied that he deliberately withheld information and pointed out that the investigation is ongoing. 

The agent further testified that others in the bureau are also being investigated, though he did not provide their identities or positions.

Heide’s testimony marks the first occasion anyone associated with the FBI has confirmed an internal probe into agents’ handling of its own Trump-Russia collusion investigation.

While the nature and source of the “exculpatory” information Heide is alleged to have withheld has not been revealed, Justice Department documents declassified in April 2020 and reviewed by Fox show that Heide was the handler for a confidential source who recorded discussions with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. A transcript of the recorded conversations shows that Papadopoulos emphatically denied that the Trump campaign was in any way involved in Russian election meddling, despite persistent questioning.

In the recording, Papadopoulos was asked whether he thought Russians “have interest in Trump.”

“They, dude, no one knows how a president’s going to govern anyway. You don’t just say, oh I like—,” he said before being cut off. “I don’t know,” he continued. “Even Putin said it himself. It’s all, it’s like conspiracy theories.”

Undeterred, the source continued to press Papadopoulos, saying: “I feel like there’s some heavy Trump supporters out there that kind of want to rig this f—king election in Trump’s favor and then at the same time, I don’t know.”

“Dude, you, you… there is no rigging in his favor,” Papadopoulos responded.

The denials are noteworthy because, according to Special Counsel John Durham’s team, they were never provided or included in evidence presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in FISA warrant applications and warrant renewals used to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page over alleged suspicion of Trump campaign ties to Russia.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz listed the FBI’s failure to include Mr. Papadopoulos’ denials in the Carter Page FISA application as two of 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in court documents.

Heide is among a number of FBI officials testifying in the Sussman trial – the first trial stemming from Durham’s years’-long probe into the debunked Trump-Russia collusion hoax. 

Prosecutors say Sussmann lied when he told former bureau General Counsel James A. Baker that he was not working “on behalf of any client” when he passed along since-debunked claims that the Trump Organization was secretly communicating with a major Russian bank with ties to President Vladimir Putin. The suit alleges that Sussman was, in fact, working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and technology executive Rodney Joffe in an elaborate scheme to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s political rival. 

Following the meeting with Baker, Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for his work. Sussman has denied the charges against him.