A former State Department official who served under former President Barack Obama confirmed recent allegations made by Republicans that the author of the infamous “Trump dossier” and an ally of Hillary Clinton gave him intelligence reports claiming to show collusion between President Trump’s campaign and the Russians.
Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan Winer wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post Thursday that former British spy Christopher Steele and longtime Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal were in contact with him about separate dossiers on Trump’s possible ties to Russia.
Winer writes that he became friends with Steele in 2009, 10 years after he left the State Department. In 2013, Winer returned to State to work under Secretary of State John Kerry. Winer kept in touch with Steele about matters regarding Russia, and in 2016 Steele told him he had learned of “disturbing information” in regards to Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
“In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the ‘dossier,’” Winer wrote.
Winer said he shared the information with former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who passed it on to Kerry.
Later in September, Winer said he met with Blumenthal, who gave him notes gathered by journalist Cody Shearer that also said the Russians had compromising information on Trump.
“What struck me was how some of the material echoed Steele’s but appeared to involve different sources,” he said.
Winer said he then shared the notes from Shearer with Steele to ask for his professional opinion and let Steele keep a copy of the information.
“Given that I had not worked with Shearer and knew that he was not a professional intelligence officer, I did not mention or share his notes with anyone at the State Department. I did not expect them to be shared with anyone in the U.S. government,” the op-ed says.
“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,” it continues.
Winer’s recollection of events falls in line with events detailed in a criminal referral filed on Jan. 4 by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina targeting Steele.
The criminal referral said there was some coordination between Clinton allies and the Obama administration to seek damaging information about Trump.