Some brand new unsealed court filings show that the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and an associate shared with the FBI and a host of media outlets the unverified dossier that alleged the Russians had compromising information on now-President Trump.
McCain previously denied being the source for BuzzFeed after it published the dossier, but had acknowledged giving it to the FBI.
In a newly unsealed declaration from September, 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 Sen. McCain.
In another filing, David Kramer, a former State Department official and McCain associate, said in a Dec. 13, 2017, deposition that the dossier was given to him by author and former British spy Christopher Steele. It was then provided to more than a dozen journalists at outlets including CNN, BuzzFeed and The Washington Post. The details were first reported by The Daily Caller.
The report was also shared with State Department official Victoria Nuland, Obama National Security Council official Celeste Wallander and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
In his deposition, Kramer said that McCain gave a copy of the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9. Kramer told investigators that it was the sense 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.
The FBI relied on the dossier in its warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in seeking to surveil Trump aide Carter Page — even though 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.