Investigators are now reportedly looking into the possibility that Obama’s State Department played a role in the collection and dissemination of the sensational and still-unverified allegations against candidate Donald Trump, which were gathered by a former British spy working for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
According to a new report from The Washington Examiner, former spy Christopher Steele, author of the Trump dossier, had contacts in the Obama Justice Department and FBI and was also well-connected with Obama’s State Department.
A book published in November by a correspondent at the Guardian, titled, “Collusion: Secret meetings, dirty money, and how Russia helped Donald Trump win,” noted that Steele’s 2010 work on the World Cup soccer corruption investigation won him the trust of not only the FBI, but the State Department as well.
From author Luke Harding:
The [soccer] episode burnished Steele’s reputation inside the U.S. intelligence community and the FBI. Here was a pro, a well-connected Brit, who understood Russian espionage and its subterranean tricks. Steele was regarded as credible. Between 2014 and 2016, Steele authored more than a hundred reports on Russia and Ukraine. These were written for a private client but shared widely within the State Department and sent up to Secretary of State John Kerry and to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who was in charge of the U.S. response to the Ukraine crisis. Many of Steele’s secret sources were the same sources who would supply information on Trump. One former State Department envoy during the Obama administration said he read dozens of Steele’s reports on Russia. The envoy said that on Russia, Steele was “as good as the CIA or anyone.” Steele’s professional reputation inside U.S. agencies would prove important the next time he discovered alarming material, and lit the fuse again.
That fuse, of course, was the Trump dossier.
Some investigators are reportedly looking beyond the 35-page dossier and into whether Steele wrote other reports about Trump, perhaps similar but not identical to what was in the dossier published by BuzzFeed. They’re also looking into whether those reports made their way to the State Department and whether there were any contacts between the State Department and the FBI or Justice Department concerning the anti-Trump material.
It’s not clear whether State Department activity related to Steele’s Russia project took place in the months leading up to the 2016 election, during the transition, or both, according to the report. Not to mention the fact that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
The recently-released testimony of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson suggested that Steele was motivated to act in large part by Trump’s alleged sexual escapades in a Moscow hotel room, which he described in the first installment of the published dossier.
“After the first memo, you know, Chris said he was very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat and said he wanted — he said he thought we were obligated to tell someone in government, in our government about this information,” Simpson told Senate Judiciary Committee investigators. “He thought from his perspective there was an issue — a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed.”
Simpson testified that Steele proposed telling the FBI, but investigators now believe Steele ultimately ended up in contact with the State Department, too.
According to the report, the coming weeks could bring more such revelations in the dossier matter.