Former Obama official confirms Steele dossier was given to State

An official at former President Obama’s State Department has confirmed a claim made by Republicans that former British spy Christopher Steele and allies of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton asked if she'd be Bloomberg's vice president: 'Oh no' Trump launches three-day campaign rally blitz Free Roger Stone MORE gave him intelligence reports claiming that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants MORE was compromised by the Russians.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post titled “Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesCalifornia newspaper says it was excluded from event with Nunes, Bernhardt The Hill's review of John Solomon's columns on Ukraine Trump to attend California fundraiser with Oracle chairman MORE is investigating me: Here’s the Truth,” former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan Winer says Steele and Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal approached him with separate dossiers claiming malfeasance between Trump and Russia. 

Winer’s op-ed confirms the chain of events Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Iowa) detailed in a criminal referral for Steele, in which he asks the Justice Department to investigate the former intelligence agent for allegedly lying to the FBI about his contacts with the media. 

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That criminal referral states that “a friend of the Clintons” approached an Obama State Department official with a document making claims about Trump, which the official then passed on to Steele, who was at the time a paid informant for The FBI.

In the op-ed, Winer states that Steele first approached him in September of 2016 with the dossier about Trump. Winer distilled the dossier into a two-page summary that he shared with former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who notified then-Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryMellman: Primary elections aren't general elections Consensus forming for ambitious climate goal: Net zero pollution New Hampshire primary turnout is a boost to Democrats MORE

Later that month, Winer said he met with Blumenthal, who he described as “an old friend.” They discussed the Steele report and Blumenthal showed Winer “notes” put together by another longtime Clinton operative, Cody Shearer, that “echoed” the claims made in the Steele dossier. 

“What struck me was how some of the material echoed Steele’s but appeared to involve different sources,” Winer writes.

Winer also says that he then shared the information from the Clinton operatives with Steele “to ask for his professional reaction.”

“He said that it was similar but separate from the information he had gathered from his sources,” Winer said. “I agreed to let him keep a copy of the Shearer notes.” 

Winer says he did not mention the information he got from Blumenthal to anyone at State and that he did not believe Steele would share it with anyone else in the government.

“But I learned later that Steele did share them — with the FBI, after the FBI asked him to provide everything he had on allegations relating to Trump, his campaign and Russian interference in U.S. elections,” Winer writes. 

Winer insists there was nothing improper about his meetings with Steele, who was separately providing State with reports on geopolitical developments about Russia and Ukraine while he was also working for the FBI and Fusion GPS, who contracted him to dig into Trump’s background, partly on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. 

“I am in no position to judge the accuracy of the information generated by Steele or Shearer,” Winer says. “But I was alarmed at Russia’s role in the 2016 election, and so were U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials. I believe all Americans should be alarmed — and united in the search for the truth about Russian interference in our democracy, and whether Trump and his campaign had any part in it.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has said he’s investigating the Obama State Department’s role in handling the Steele dossier.