NEW YORK — Anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele visited the Obama State Department to brief officials there about the infamous, largely discredited dossier in October 2016, it was revealed during a Senate hearing.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, revealed contents of the State Department’s visitor logs while he was grilling Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs under John Kerry.
At the hearing on Wednesday, Burr asked: “I know you talked extensively with our staff relative to Mr. Steele. Based upon our review of the visitor logs of the State Department, Mr. Steele visited the State Department briefing officials on the dossier in October of 2016. Did you have any role in that briefing?”
“I did not,” Nuland replied. “I actively chose not to be part of that briefing.”
“But were you aware of that briefing?” Burr asked.
“I was not aware of it until afterwards,” Nuland retorted.
Nuland did not explain how she can actively chose not to be part of Steele’s briefing, as she claimed, yet say she was unaware of the briefing until after it occurred. Nuland was not asked about the discrepancy during the public section of the testimony, which was reviewed in full by Breitbart News.
In their book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn write that Nuland gave the green light for the FBI to first meet with Steele regarding his infamous, largely discredited dossier alleging wild claims about Donald Trump and Russia.
It was at that meeting that Steele initially reported his dossier charges to the FBI, the book relates.
Steele’s dossier was produced by Fusion GPS, which was paid for its anti-Trump work by Trump’s primary political opponents, namely Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) via the Perkins Coie law firm.
The Steele dossier was reportedly utilized by the FBI in part to conduct its probe into Trump over unsubstantiated claims of collusion with Russia. According to House Intelligence Committee documents, the questionable dossier was also used by Obama administration officials to obtain a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, who briefly served as a volunteer foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign. The political origins of the dossier and issues relating to Steele’s credibility as a source were kept from the FISA court, a House Republican memo documents.
Nuland is one of several State Department officials facing scrutiny over ties to Steele and the dossier.
An extensive New Yorker profile of Steele named Kerry’s chief of staff at the State Department, John Finer, as obtaining the contents of a two-page summary of the dossier and eventually deciding to share the questionable document with Kerry.
Finer received the dossier summary from Jonathan M. Winer, the Obama State Department official who acknowledged regularly interfacing and exchanging information with Steele, according to the report.
Winer previously conceded that he shared the dossier summary with Nuland.
After his name surfaced in news media reports related to probes by House Republicans into the dossier, Winer authored a Washington Post oped in which he conceded that while he was working at the State Department he exchanged documents and information with Steele.
Winer further acknowledged that while at the State Department, he shared anti-Trump material with Steele passed to him by longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, whom Winer described as an “old friend.” Winer wrote that the material from Blumenthal – which Winer in turn gave to Steele – originated with Cody Shearer, who is a controversial figure long tied to various Clinton scandals.
In the Post piece, Winer related that he repeatedly passed documents from Steele related to Russia to State officials, including to Nuland.
Nuland serves as CEO of the Center for a New American Security, which describes itself as “an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit organization that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.”
“As CEO, Ambassador Nuland will lead CNAS’s efforts to develop bold, innovative, and bipartisan solutions to the most pressing national security and defense issues,” the Center said in a statement.
She previously served as chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott under Bill Clinton’s administration, and then served as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs.
Nuland faced confirmation questions prior to her most recent appointment as assistant secretary of state over her reported role in revising controversial Obama administration talking points about the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks. Her reported changes sought to protect Hillary Clinton’s State Department from accusations that it failed to adequately secure the woefully unprotected U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi.
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.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.