Rice denies former British spy's account, which comes in a novel litigation by three Russian businessman suing over Britain's data laws.Importantly, Steele testified that it was his clear impression--based on statements by Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS--that he was ultimately working for the Clinton Campaign, no matter what the technicalities of the money being laundered to Fusion GPS through the DNC and the Perkins Coie law firm.
But the bombshell--something I'm sure John Durham is also aware of--is that Steele passed that knowledge about the Clinton sponsorship of the dossier on to the FBI, and Steele kept notes to that effect.
Steele recently testified in a British court that he believed both then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and then-Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice were aware of his dossier research as it was going on in summer 2016.
The testimony makes his most direct link yet between his Russia collusion research and the top of the Clinton campaign and Obama White House.
Steele told a British court he believed he had been hired by the Fusion GPS firm owned by Glenn Simpson through the Democratic National Committee-linked law firm Perkins Coie to assist the Clinton campaign during the election, according to a transcript of the testimony.
"I presumed it was the Clinton campaign, and Glenn Simpson had indicated that. But I was not aware of the technicality of it being the DNC that was actually the client of Perkins Coie,” Steele testified in March under questioning from lawyers for Russian bankers suing over his research.
“You knew it was the leadership of the Clinton presidential campaign didn't you?” a lawyer for the businessmen asked.
“I believed it was the campaign. Yes,” he answered.
“The leadership of the Clinton campaign?” he was asked.
“Fine, the leadership of the campaign,” Steele conceded.
The lawyer persisted.
“You also understood that Hillary Clinton herself was aware of what you were doing?” the lawyer asked.
“I think Glenn had mentioned it, but I wasn't clear,” Steele answered.
Then Steele was confronted with what lawyers said were notes he took at a meeting with the FBI in 2016 in which he purported to tell agents that Clinton was aware of his research. The lawyers read from those notes during the court proceedings.
The notes, according to the transcript, read: “We explained that Glenn Simpson/GPS Fusion was our commissioner but the ultimate client were the leadership of the Clinton presidential campaign and that we understood the candidate herself was aware of the reporting at least, if not us.”
The lawyers prodded: “It’s your note, so we assume it’s accurate?”
“Yes,” Steele answered during the March 17 testimony. You can read that testimony here.
Another nugget has to do with the role of the State Department. Victoria Nuland has thus far successfully tried to distance herself from Steele. But Steele testified that his well known meeting at State Department with Kathleen Kavalec was actually instigated by Nuland and Jonathan Winer. It looks like a clear attempt to launder the dossier through the State Department to the FBI in the guise of "intelligence."
The former British MI6 agent turned private intelligence investigator said his meeting was set up by State officials Jonathan Winer and Victoria Nuland after longtime Clinton adviser and friend Strobe Talbott had reached out to him.
“The meeting was set up by a State Department official called John Winer,” Steele explained.
“At your request?” the lawyers asked.
“No, at his request, his suggestion. He invited us into meet, as I understood it, at her request, Assistant Secretary of State Nuland,” Steele answered.
The lawyers asked whether Talbott opened the door in October.
“I think Strobe Talbott had gotten in touch with us much earlier than that,” Steele answered. “I remember taking a phone call from him, your lordship, earlier in the summer in which he said that he was aware that I had — he spoke in fairly cryptic terms — but he was aware that we had material of relevance to the U.S. election.
“A little bit of background, if I may, your lordship on that,” Steele added. “Both National Security Advisor at the time Susan Rice and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who were the key policymakers on Russia, had been colleagues of Mr. Talbott. And I had, although he didn't state it explicitly, one or either or both of them had briefed him on the work we had been doing.”