By Chuck Ross
- Christopher Steele disclosed information from his infamous dossier to Strobe Talbott, a longtime Clinton insider and former State Department official.
- Court documents released on Tuesday show that Steele shared information with Talbott because of the latter’s position on the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.
- Talbott’s link to the dossier has not been previously reported. His brother-in-law, another Clinton insider, compiled an anti-Trump dossier of his own during the campaign.
Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier, disclosed information from his Trump-Russia investigation to a longtime Clinton crony because of his position on a State Department advisory board, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.
According to the court filing, Steele told a court in the United Kingdom on Aug. 1 that he provided Strobe Talbott, the Clinton insider, with anti-Trump research because of his position on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, an independent advisory board set up in 2011 by then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton appointed Talbott chairman of the advisory board, and he served in that role through John Kerry’s tenure.
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“As regards disclosure to Strobe Talbott (if relevant to this claim), the Defendant relies on US Department of State Foreign Affairs Policy Board,” reads the Aug. 1 filing.
Steele’s link to Talbott, which has not previously been revealed, shows the lengths to which Steele went to disseminate the fruits of his Trump investigation, which started in June 2016 when he was hired by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired by the DNC and Clinton campaign.
The Steele document was revealed on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by three Russian bankers who have sued Steele in the U.K. and U.S. over the dossier. A Sept. 14, 2016 memo in the dossier alleges links between the founders of the bank, Alfa Bank, and the Kremlin. They have sued Steele and Fusion GPS for defamation.
Steele disclosed the link to Talbott in response to a series of questions posed in the U.K. ligation.
Steele’s filing does not provide additional details on his interactions with Talbott, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Bill Clinton administration.
Talbott has long been friends with the Clintons, having met the former president at Oxford in the 1960s.
It is also unclear what information from the dossier Steele gave to Talbott, or when the handoff would have occurred. (RELATED: Comey: Dossier Was Unverified Before And After FBI Used It To Obtain Spy Warrants)
Steele, a former MI6 officer, compiled 17 memos dated from June 20, 2016 to Dec. 13, 2016, alleging a vast conspiracy between the Trump team and Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. The FBI would rely heavily on the dossier to obtain four warrants to spy on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who is named throughout the dossier.
Page has vehemently denied Steele’s claims. Republicans have accused the FBI of abusing the surveillance court process by relying on the dossier, which FBI officials have acknowledged was largely unverified when it was used to obtain spy warrants on Page.
Steele disseminated his dossier widely, to his contacts at the FBI, numerous news organizations, Congress, and the State Department. By passing the dossier to Talbott, who then served as president of the Brookings Institution, Steele pushed the anti-Trump research to the president of the most prominent think tank in the U.S.
Steele had other ties to the State Department beyond Talbott.
In Summer 2016, the retired spy met provided his longtime friend, Jonathan Winer, then the State Department’s special envoy to Libya, with parts of the dossier. Winer passed a summary of Steele’s claims to others in the State Department.
Steele also visited State Department headquarters in October 2016 to brief officials on the dossier. It is unclear whether Talbott was involved in the meeting, which Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr revealed during a hearing on June 20.
Talbott also has a familial link to another dossier that was handled by Steele and Winer. Talbott’s brother-in-law is Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton fixer who conducted a private investigation of his own into Trump during the campaign.
Shearer’s dossier contains some allegations similar to Steele’s report, including that Russians had blackmail material on Trump. Shearer passed his report to Winer through Sidney Blumenthal, another longtime Clinton insider. Winer then shared the Shearer memos with Steele, who provided them to the FBI. (RELATED: Clinton Fixer’s ‘Second Dossier’ Was Met With Skepticism)
A person who spoke with Shearer in Summer 2016 about his findings told The Daily Caller News Foundation that it seemed to be a “rope-a-dope” scheme being pushed by purported Russian spies.
Talbott did not respond to a request for comment. Lawyers for Steele and the Alfa Bank founders also did not respond to a request for comment.
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