WASHINGTON — The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump’s campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.
The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks, as one of the sources of information the bureau has used to bolster its investigation, according to U.S. officials briefed on the probe.
This includes approval from the secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor the communications of Carter Page, two of the officials said. Last year, Page was identified by the Trump campaign as an adviser on national security.
Officials familiar with the process say even if the application to monitor Page included information from the dossier, it would only be after the FBI had corroborated the information through its own investigation.
The officials would not say what or how much was corroborated.
The dossier first came to light a summary of it had been presented to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in December by top U.S. intelligence officials.
Comey’s briefings to lawmakers stand in contrast to efforts in recent months by the bureau and U.S. intelligence agencies to try to distance themselves from the dossier.
U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have said U.S. investigators did their own work, separate from the dossier, to support their findings that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump.
The dossier alleges that Page met senior Russian officials as an emissary of the Trump campaign, and discussed quid-pro-quo deals relating to sanctions, business opportunities and Russia’s interference in the election.
Page has denied meeting the officials named in the dossier and says he never cut any political deals with the Kremlin.
During the campaign, he traveled to Russia in July, where he gave a lecture critical of U.S. policy toward Russia.
That trip drew the attention of the FBI and raised concerns about Page’s contacts with suspected Russian operatives, according to U.S. officials briefed on the matter.
Page has said he made the trip independent of the Trump campaign and his speech reflected his own views.
Page has also disputed any wrongdoing and says there was nothing illegal in his interactions with Russian officials. He blames former Obama administration officials for pushing the Russia allegations.
“I look forward to the Privacy Act of 1974 lawsuit that I plan to file in response to the civil rights violations by Obama administration appointees last year,” Page said in a statement.
“The discovery process will be of great value to the United States, as our nation hears testimony from them under oath, and we receive disclosure of the documents which show what exactly was done in 2016.”
The dossier is a collection of memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative working for political opponents of Trump.
The memos purport to describe efforts by Russian intelligence to gather compromising information on Trump.