Steele Updated Clinton Ally on Dossier Progress in 2016

Elections
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke (L) speaks as Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott watches at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., September 15, 2009. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Former British spy Christopher Steele recently testified that he was contacted by Clinton-ally Strobe Talbott in Summer 2016 regarding his investigation into presidential candidate Donald Trump, after Talbott learned of the investigation from Obama administration officials.

“I remember taking a phone call from [Talbott], 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,” Steele testified as part of a defamation lawsuit against him in the U.K., according to transcript of the deposition obtained by the Daily Caller.

Talbott, the current president of the Brookings Institution, indicated that he was told of Steele’s work by either former national security adviser Susan Rice or former State Department official Victoria Nuland.

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“Although he didn’t state it explicitly, one or either or both of them had briefed him on the work we had been doing,” Steele said. Rice spokeswoman Erin Pelton told the Daily Caller that it is “utterly and completely false” that Rice spoke with Steele. Both Rice and Nuland declined to comment.

Steele went on to provide Talbott with a copy of the dossier in November 2016. And Talbott, who was tapped in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to chair the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Advisory Board, disseminated the dossier to his Brookings colleague, Fiona Hill in January 2017 while she was serving in the Trump administration.

Talbott’s brother-in-law, Cody Shearer, also disseminated his own dossier in 2016 claiming that the Kremlin had video of Trump engaged in sexual behavior in Moscow — a charge that later ended up in Steele’s dossier.

Steele also admitted in March that his claim of secret communications between a Russian bank and the Trump presidential campaign was based on a tip from lawyer Michael Sussman, whose firm Perkins Coie represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign.

Steele further said that his records on all conversations with the “primary sub-source” of the Steele Dossier, which was used by the FBI as the basis for an investigation of alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, were deleted in 2017. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) has since asked the Justice Department to release all documents that “question the accuracy and reliability” of Steele’s sources.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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