(…) The FBI had been warned the previous summer that Hillary Clinton’s campaign may have planted the false Russia collusion story as a way to “vilify” Trump and distract from her email scandal, and agents were about to interview Steele’s primary sub-source, who would discount much of the information in the dossier attributed to him as bar talk and unconfirmed rumor not worthy of official intelligence.
And the larger intelligence community had decided it did not want to vouch for the Steele dossier in its official Intelligence Community Assessment about Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
It was in that environment in the final days of the Obama administration that Clapper had written Comey earlier on Jan. 11, 2017 to inform the FBI that Clapper had decided to release a public statement declaring that the Steele dossier was only mentioned in an appendix to the intel community’s report because the “IC has not made any judgment that the information in the document is reliable.”
Comey tried to push back, suggesting Steele was deemed reliable (he actually had been terminated by the FBI for leaking by that time) and that his network included sources that might be in a position to know things (although the key source had already disavowed the information attributed to him in the dossier).
Then Comey added the line that undercut his argument: “That said, we are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting to include it in the body of the report.”
You can read the full memo here: