It was no secret that the late Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, wasn’t a fan of President Trump.
But now new court documents have been unveiled showing the role that McCain and an associate played in unleashing an unverified dossier during the election.
The document was shared with the FBI and a host of media outlets, and it alleged that the Russians had compromising information on now-President Trump
The document was leaked to BuzzFeed, which published shortly after it was received. McCain acknowledged giving it to the FBI but denied giving it to BuzzFeed.
Here’s the thing about that dossier. It was actually funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. It’s the same document that was then used to begin the “collusion” investigation. No conflict of interest there, right?
Former senior counterintelligence FBI agent Bill Priestap confirmed that the FBI received a copy of the first 33 pages of the dossier in December 2016 from McCain. That information was just released in a newly unsealed declaration from September.
In another unsealed document, it was shown that David Kramer, who was a former State Department official and McCain associate, said in a December 13, 2017 deposition that the dossier was given to him by author and former British spy Christopher Steele. He said he then provided it to more than a dozen journalists at outlets that include BuzzFeed, The Washington Post and CNN. The details were first unveiled in The Daily Caller.
That report was also shared with State Department official Victoria Nuland, Obama National Security Council official Celeste Wallander and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois.
All of these filings were unsealed as part of what’s an ongoing libel case by a Russian businessman against BuzzFeed.
Kramer said in his deposition that McCain gave a copy of the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey on December 9 , 2017. Interestingly he admitted to investigators that it was the belief from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson that “having Senator McCain provide it to the FBI would give it a little more oomph than it had had up until that point.”
“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” he said.
In his deposition, he described how BuzzFeed News reporter Ken Bensinger got the dossier before the outlet became the first to publish it in its entirety.
Kramer said that in December of 2017, he showed Bensinger the dossier at the McCain Institute but didn’t allow him to take pictures of it. But then he left him alone to read the memos. Surprise, surprise… during that time, Bensinger took pictures of the dossier.
Kramer claims he panicked when he saw that BuzzFeed News had published the document in its entirety online on Jan. 10. He claims he immediately tried to have it taken down.
“I called Mr. Bensinger, and my first words out of my mouth were ‘you are gonna get people killed,’” he said.
That document is the very one that the FBI relied on in its warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in seeking to surveil Trump aide Carter Page.
This, despite the fact some of the dossier’s claims have been called into question, including a claim that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to pay off Russian hackers and other more salacious claims about Trump himself.
Just to summarize:
- DNC and Clinton campaign hire company to create fake dossier on now-President Trump.
- Dossier given to McCain and team to make it seem legit.
- McCain and team give it to the FBI and leak it to the media.
- FBI uses fake, DNC and Clinton-contracted document to get warrant applications to surveil Trump campaign.
- Dossier proven to be bogus.
But… President Trump is the bad guy.