A former State Department official has confirmed that he played middleman in relaying anti-Trump smut from two Hillary Clinton operatives to dossier writer Christopher Steele who passed it to the FBI.
It is a further thickening of the plot by Democratic Party agents to get unverified dossier material into the news media and the Obama Justice Department before election day Nov. 8.
Jonathan M. Winer, who was former secretary state John Kerry’s special envoy to Libya and his Senate adviser, disclosed the the behind-the-scenes get-Trump operation in a Washington Post op-ed.
Mr. Winer confirmed a redacted Senate report released on Tuesday that said information on candidate Trump flowed between Mr. Steele and Clinton operatives, with Mr. Winer as the middleman.
Mr. Steele, a former British spy, wrote the anti-Trump dossier with money provided by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, through Fusion GPS.
The Hillary Clinton agents are Sidney Blumenthal, a well-known fierce Clinton defender and freelance intelligence gatherer, and his collaborator, Cody Shearer.
Mr. Winer’s disclosures mean that, not only was the Hillary Clinton campaign paying Mr. Steele, but her loyalists were also providing raw intelligence that got incorporated into the Steele dossier and went to the FBI.
Mr. Winer said he shared the dossier charges in a two-page summary with career diplomat Victoria Nuland who said she planned to share it with Mr. Kerry.
The Senate document, prepared by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, said two reports came from State (apparently Mr. Winer) to Mr. Steele from Blumenthal-Shearer. Their source was a “foreign-sub-source.”
Mr. Steele paid intermediaries to collect his unverified attacks from Kremlin sources on Mr. Trump and associates.
Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has announce he will next investigate the dossier roles of the State Department and Mrs. Clinton’s operatives.
To date, his investigation into FBI and Department of Justice abuses has turned up a series of new disclosures.
He found out who financed the discredited dossier. It alleges a still-unconfirmed “extensive conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 election.
Mr. Nunes also discovered that the FBI used the partisan dossier to convince a judge to issue a wiretap warrant on Trump volunteer Carter Page. He disclosed that the FBI cited a Yahoo News story as corroboration when in fact it too came from the dossier.
He further found that the FBI planned to pay Mr. Steele to continue investigating the candidate who came to be President Trump. The FBI suspended the relationship after Mr. Steele went to the press with his allegations days before the Nov. 8 election.
The Senate report is Mr. Grassley’s criminal referral asking the Justice Department to investigate Mr. Steele for lying to the FBI. The referral said Mr. Steele assured the FBI he did not talk to Yahoo News when in fact he did.
Mr. Grassley’s referral confirms Mr. Nunes’ findings and contains new dossier information. Mr. Steele wrote an Oct. 19 memo based on the Winer-Blumenthal-Shearer connection. It was not part of the 35-page dossier posted on Jan 10, 2017 by BuzzFeed.
The FBI heavily redacted the memo so there are few details. But the three names appeared in an earlier Grassley letter to the DNC asking for any communications between them.
Mr. Winer’s op-ed said that Mr. Shearer came up with some of the same salacious allegations as did Mr. Steele.
Mr. Winer said he had accepted Mr. Steele’s previous foreign policy reports and has been an “old friend” of Mr. Blumenthal for decades.
“Blumenthal and I discussed Steele’s reports,” Mr. Winer wrote. “He showed me notes gathered by a journalist I did not know, Cody Shearer, that alleged the Russians had compromising information on Trump of a sexual and financial nature. What struck me was how some of the material echoed Steele’s but appeared to involve different sources.”
Mr. Steele had contacted Mr. Winer in what the Senate report, quoting an associate, described as his “desperate” effort to defeat Mr. Trump.
Mr. Winer wrote, “On my own, I shared a copy of these notes with Steele, to ask for his professional reaction. He told me it was potentially ‘collateral’ information. I asked him what that meant. He said that it was similar but separate from the information he had gathered from his sources. I agreed to let him keep a copy of the Shearer notes.”
Mr. Steele’s dossier includes the un-substantiated charge that Mr. Trump entertained prostitutes in a Moscow hotel in 2013. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied this. All the Trump people accused my Mr. Steele deny the charges and use words such as “fiction” to describe his work.
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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