Anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele testified that he was “absolutely flabbergasted” when BuzzFeed published the dossier after an advisor to late Senator John McCain shared the controversial document with the media outlet purportedly against Steele’s wishes.
That tidbit was buried in a footnote on page 176 of the Justice Department’s recently released 476-page Inspector General (IG) report on the FBI’s Russia collusion investigation. Steele made the remarks about Buzzfeed and the McCain staff member during an interview with the IG.
The relevant footnote relates:
Steele testified in foreign litigation that he did not provide his reports to journalists or media organizations and did not authorize anyone to share them. According to the McCain Institute staff member’s testimony in the same litigation, Steele requested that the staff member meet with BuzzFeed, and that Steele neither requested nor prohibited the staff member from sharing the reports with BuzzFeed. Additionally, the staff member testified that Steele was aware that the staff member was furnishing Steele’s reports to The Washington Post.
Steele told the OIG that he trusted the staff member to handle his reports discretely and that the staff member betrayed that trust. Steele explained that the staff member had spent his career handling sensitive intelligence. Steele also said he understood from a former Ambassador that Senator McCain requested that Steele trust the staff member. Steele said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” when BuzzFeed published his election reports.
The unnamed McCain staff member is known to be David J. Kramer.
Kramer revealed in previous testimony that he held a meeting about the dossier with a reporter from BuzzFeed News, who he says snapped photos of the controversial document without Kramer’s permission when he left the room to go to the bathroom. That meeting was held at the McCain Institute office in Washington, Kramer stated.
BuzzFeed published the Christopher Steele dossier on January 10, 2017, setting off a firestorm of news media coverage about the document.
The Washington Post reported last February that Kramer received the dossier directly from Fusion GPS after McCain expressed interest in it.
Fusion GPS 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.
As Breitbart News reported last week, the IG report also reveals that McCain provided disgraced former FBI chief James Comey with five separate reports from Steele that the FBI didn’t previously possess related to unsubstantiated allegations of collusion between Russia and President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
There have long been questions about why it was necessary for McCain to pass Steele’s anti-Trump dossier to Comey on December 9, 2016, several weeks after the November 2016 presidential election. By then, Steele had already met numerous times with FBI agents to provide them with his controversial reports. Steele, however, was terminated as an FBI source in the fall of 2016 because he spoke to the news media.
The IG report discloses that McCain gave five new Steele reports to Comey that the FBI did not previously possess, showing that McCain served as a conduit for Steele’s information to reach the FBI after the British ex-spy was formally cut off as an FBI source.
It is not clear whether McCain knew at the time that Steele had previously been terminated as an FBI source.
The IG report also verifies that Kramer obtained the Steele reports directly from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, meaning that when McCain transferred the anti-Trump charges to Comey he had to have known that the material originated with a firm that specializes in controversial opposition tactics.
Prior to his death, McCain admitted to personally handing the dossier to Comey but he refused repeated requests for comment about whether he had a role in providing the dossier to BuzzFeed, including numerous inquiries sent to his office by this reporter.
In his book published last year, McCain maintained he had an “obligation” to pass the dossier charges against Trump to Comey and he would even do it again. “Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell,” McCain exclaimed.
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.