Dossier Author Christopher Steele Had Previously Undisclosed Meetings With Lawyers For DNC, Clinton Campaign
The Russian Alfa Bank has sued Christopher Steele for defamation, over the September 16, 2016 memo that Steele wrote, which claimed that there was some sort of secret communications channel between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, routed through Alfa Bank's server. In testimony last month--March 17 and 18--Steele traced the story directly to Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann as well as to the Clinton campaign's opposition research shop, Fusion GPS. Sussmann, of course, is the top Dem election lawyer, lawyer for the DNC, and has been for years. Steele also met personally with Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign's top lawyer, just a week after writing the hoax memo.
In his testimony, Steele explicitly states that the Alfa story was provided to him by Sussmann and that Glenn Simpson, Steele's employer at Fusion GPS, "directed" Steele to write the story up as a report. In other words, Simpson told Steele to frame Sussmann's phony story as an "intelligence" report. The Clinton lawyers and Steele then peddled the story to the FBI, the State Department, and various media outlets. Steele's testimony provides a glimpse of just how directly the Clinton campaign was involved in the production of the dossier--including its content:
[Steele] revealed that Sussmann, a former Justice Department official, told him during a meeting on July 29, 2016 about suspicious network traffic between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank. He also said that the theory about the computer server traffic was the catalyst for the dossier memo he would write six weeks later about Alfa Bank.
“I’m very clear is that the first person that ever mentioned the Trump server issue, Alfa server issue, was Mr. Sussman [sic],” Steele told Hugh Tomlinson, a lawyer for the Alfa Bank owners, on March 17.
Steele went on to say that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson instructed him at some point after the Sussmann meeting to write a report about Alfa Bank.
“I was given the instruction sometime after that meeting by Mr. Simpson,” said Steele, adding that the instruction from Simpson “was absolutely, definitely linked to the server issue.”
Sussmann shopped the allegations about the Alfa Bank computer servers around to others besides Steele, including to journalists and the FBI’s top lawyer.
He shared the information with reporters from the New York Times and Slate, which ran a story on Oct. 31, 2016.
According to that story, Alfa Bank’s servers were communicating in a peculiar fashion with those of the Trump Organization. A team of computer experts who studied the traffic determined that the Alfa-Trump channel was being used for some sort of communication between the two sides. That assessment, if true, would have fit into Steele’s theory that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin.
The Slate story appeared as rumors gained steam that the Trump campaign was somehow involved in the hack and release of emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign. On Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo! News published a story alleging that Trump campaign aide Carter Page met secretly with Kremlin insiders to discuss exchanging material on Hillary Clinton.
On the day the Slate story appeared, Mother Jones reporter David Corn published a report citing a “former Western intelligence officer” who claimed that the Russian government had compromising material on Trump.
It is now known that Steele was involved in one way or the other in all three of the stories. He met with both reporters from Mother Jones and Yahoo, and had investigated the allegations central to the Slate story.
To further spread the Alfa Bank story, Sussmann contacted James Baker, his former DOJ colleague who then served as general counsel for the FBI. Baker told House investigators on Oct. 18, 2018 that Sussmann contacted him to share the information and that they met on Sept. 19, 2016.
Of particular note in all this is the fact that Michael Sussmann was questioned by the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) when Devin Nunes was still the chairman. The transcript of that interview--which has been reviewed for classified information and has been ready for publication for a year--is one of 43 that Adam Schiff is concealing. Also, note that Sussmann and James Baker had previously worked together when both were at DoJ. There can be no doubt that when Sussmann received the Alfa story from Sussmann that Baker knew he was getting it from the Clinton campaign.