McCain associate shared unverified Steele dossier with Buzzfeed, court filing says

An associate of the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain shared with Buzzfeed News a copy of the unverified, salacious opposition research dossier alleging that Russians had compromising material on President Trump, according to a bombshell federal court filing Wednesday.

McCain had strenuously denied being the source for Buzzfeed after it published the dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. In recent days, the dossier’s credibility has increasingly come under question, as the Yahoo News investigative reporter who broke news of its existence said many of its claims were “likely false,” and an adviser to ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen said Cohen never went to Prague to pay off Russian hackers, as alleged in the dossier.

Nevertheless, the FBI extensively relied on the dossier in its warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in seeking to surveil Trump aide Carter Page. On four occasions, the FBI also incorrectly suggested to the FISA court that the Yahoo reporter, Michael Isikoff, had written an article that provided an independent basis to surveil Page — even though London court records revealed Isikoff was, in fact, relying on the leaks from the dossier’s author. (Page, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, is now suing the DNC for defamation.)

Earlier this year, Fox News reported that a top McCain associate, David Kramer, had been briefed on the dossier written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele in late November 2016 in Surrey, England. Kramer invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before House Republicans about his handling of the dossier.

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