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John McCain’s attempt to undermine Trump with dossier is why conservatives reject him
Gage Skidmore / CCL
We already knew that John McCain played a role in circulating the infamous Steele dossier. And we now know where McCain got his copy of the salacious document: a long-time associate who, in turn, received the dossier directly from Fusion GPS.
Yes, that Fusion GPS. The opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign and the Democrats to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump during the campaign.
According to polling, Democrats like McCain better than Republicans do. This isn’t a coincidence.
Between his Obamacare repeal-killing vote and his constant anti-Trump grandstanding, McCain might as well be a Democrat. And with this new report, Democrats have even more reason to like McCain than before.
McCain got dossier from Fusion GPS
In the fall of 2016, Christopher Steele, the former British spy who reportedly had a personal investment in seeing Trump lose the election, was in contact with a former British diplomat and friend, Sir Andrew Wood, with whom he had reviewed the dossier.
Steele had already been in contact with the FBI for months when, in mid-November, Wood approached Steele to discuss whether they should take further action to alert the U.S. government of the dossier.
They decided that they needed to apprise Republicans of Steele’s findings, according to The Washington Post.
Wood then reached out to David Kramer, a former State Department official close to John McCain, to arrange a meeting with the Arizona senator. Wood met with McCain in December of 2016 at a security conference in Canada, where he gave McCain a run-down of the dossier.
“There’s a document”
“I told him, ‘I know there’s a document. I haven’t read it, but it seems to me that it’s reliably set up,’” Wood said.
McCain reportedly “was visibly shocked” and told Wood he was interested in reviewing its contents.
“Thank you for seeing me. You did the right thing and I’m grateful. My first thought has to be for my country,” McCain said. Then the dossier found its way into McCain’s hands, through Kramer, who received a copy from Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS.
The Post reported:
Ten days later, in a cloak-and-dagger scene, Kramer and Steele arranged to meet at Heathrow Airport in London. Kramer was told that he should look for a man wearing a blue raincoat and carrying a Financial Times under his arm, according to people familiar with the episode.
Kramer accompanied Steele to his home, where he spent a few hours reviewing the Trump research.
Back in Washington, Kramer received a copy of the dossier from Simpson and completed the handoff to McCain.
In a private meeting on Dec. 9, McCain gave Comey the dossier — passing along information that Steele had provided to the FBI earlier in the year.
The Trump dossier scandal
The Washington Post‘s report confirmed that McCain’s copy of the report originated from Fusion GPS. The question is: did McCain know where the document came from?
In January, Simpson confirmed in an op-ed in The New York Times that he shared the dossier with McCain through an “emissary.”
“After the election, Mr. Steele decided to share his intelligence with Senator John McCain via an emissary,” the editorial reads. “We helped him do that. The goal was to alert the United States national security community to an attack on our country by a hostile foreign power.”
The public has reason to believe that Simpson, Steele, and Fusion GPS’s decision to reach out to McCain was motivated by partisan interest — after the election. Steele met with Bruce Ohr, former assistant deputy attorney general, during the campaign, and reportedly told Ohr, whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” according to the now infamous Nunes memo.
Simpson also met with Ohr after the election. Ohr was demoted after his contact with Simpson and Steele was reported in December.
When Comey decided to re-open the investigation into Clinton’s e-mails, Simpson and Steele were reportedly upset and looked for a media outlet to publish the unverified dossier to even the score, according to the Post.
Steele had already leaked some of his research to Yahoo in September when Simpson and Steele decided “it would be fair if the world knew that both candidates were under FBI investigation,” Simpson said.
Three days after Comey re-opened the investigation, a Mother Jones story was published that included information obtained by Steele, although he was not named.
Simpson and Steele dropped in at the Post for two visits in September and October of 2016, according to the Post. The paper decided not to publish the dossier because it could not independently verify its contents.
But despite the fact that it wasn’t good enough for even the Post to publish, the FBI later used the unverified dossier in its application and renewals for FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page.
Is this definitive proof that McCain knew he had forwarded Democrat-funded opposition research to the FBI?
Not quite, but it’s pretty close.
McCain’s animus toward Trump is well-known, evinced by his comments comparing Trump to a dictator and his obstructive stance toward the president. If McCain knowingly handed over political research to the FBI, it doesn’t reflect well on Republicans’ already dismal perception of him.
What else could he be hiding?
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