TEL AVIV — Recent disclosures raise significant questions about Sen. John McCain’s role in delivering the infamous, largely discredited 35-page dossier on President Donald Trump and Russia to the U.S. intelligence community under Barack Obama’s administration.
McCain’s office has not responded to numerous Breitbart News phone and email requests for comment seeking clarification on the issue.
Below, in no particular order, are three major, outstanding questions regarding McCain’s involvement in pushing the controversial dossier.
1 – Did McCain know about the role of the controversial Fusion GPS firm in compiling the dossier?
In August testimony released publicly last week, the co-founder of Fusion GPS revealed that an associate of McCain first reached out to Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the questionable dossier, in order to obtain the anti-Trump information for McCain to pass to the FBI’s leadership.
In the August 22 testimony, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn R. Simpson divulged that contact between Steele and McCain’s office was initiated by David Kramer, a former State Department official who was described by Simpson as a “long-time advisor to Senator McCain.”
Simpson said that Kramer related to Steele that Kramer and McCain were at a security conference in Nova Scotia where the contents of the dossier were discussed with the two by Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow. Kramer had reached out to Steele for more information, Simpson stated.
Simpson made clear that the request for more information was initiated by McCain’s associate, Kramer. He said that Wood’s sharing of the information with McCain and Kramer at the security conference “caused David Kramer to follow up with Chris (Steele) and that it was passive. In other words, it was initiated by Mr. Kramer.”
Simpson said that the goal of McCain’s camp in obtaining the dossier information was to inquire about the document’s contents with FBI leadership.
In a New York Times oped last week, Simpson and Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritch wrote that they helped get the dossier to McCain using an “emissary” with the goal of McCain passing the information contained in the questionable document to U.S. intelligence agencies.
While Kramer reached out to Steele, who was hired by Fusion GPS to assemble the dossier, it was not immediately clear whether Kramer or McCain knew about the firm’s involvement in the anti-Trump document.
Breitbart News twice sent the following question to McCain’s office but did not receive a reply: “Given that Fusion GPS is openly an opposition research firm, did Sen. McCain know that he was sharing political opposition research on Trump with the intel community?”
A January 11 statement from McCain attempted to explain why he provided the documents to the FBI but did not mention how he came to possess the dossier or whether he knew who funded it.
“Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the director of the FBI,” McCain said at the time. “That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.”
2 – Did McCain know the anti-Trump dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign?
In October, the Washington Post reported that in April 2016, attorney Marc E. Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained Fusion GPS to conduct the anti-Trump work on behalf of both the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Through Perkins Coie, Clinton’s campaign and the DNC continued to fund Fusion GPS until October 2016, days before Election Day, the Post reported.
McCain’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the issue.
3 – Why did McCain need to provide the dossier to the FBI leadership in the first place?
Fusion GPS co-founder Simpson testified that McCain associate Kramer reached out a few weeks after the November presidential election last year to obtain the dossier’s information and pass it to FBI leadership.
Referring to Kramer, Simpson stated, “He says he wants information to give to Senator McCain so that Senator McCain can ask questions about it at the FBI, with the leadership of the FBI.
“That was essentially — all we sort of wanted was for the government to do its job and we were concerned about whether the information that we provided previously had ever, you know, risen to the leadership level of the FBI. We simply just didn’t know. It was our belief that Director Comey, if he was aware — if he was made aware of this information would treat it seriously.”
It was unclear from Simpson’s testimony why McCain would feel the need to get the dossier to the FBI leadership a few weeks after the November election. According to numerous reports and Capitol Hill testimony, the FBI immediately took Steele’s information seriously when the ex-spy reportedly provided his anti-Trump claims to a contact at an FBI field office in Rome last July.
Mother Jones reported that a “few weeks” after Steele allegedly went to the FBI on his own in July, “the bureau asked him for information on his sources and their reliability and on how he had obtained his reports.”
“He was also asked to continue to send copies of his subsequent reports to the bureau,” Mother Jones reported.
“In other words, by the end of the July, the leadership of the FBI was paying attention,” the Washington Post reported.
Not only were they paying attention, the BBC reported that Steele’s information served as a “roadmap” for the FBI’s investigation into claims of coordination between Moscow and members of Trump’s presidential campaign.
Last April, CNN reported that the dossier served as part of the FBI’s justification for seeking the FISA court’s reported approval to clandestinely monitor the communications of Carter Page, the American oil industry investor who was tangentially and briefly associated with Trump’s presidential campaign.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.