Former British spy Christopher Steele visited the State Department in October 2016 and briefed officials there about his work on the infamous anti-Trump dossier, it was revealed on Wednesday.
“Based upon our review of the visitor logs at the State Department, Mr. Steele visited the State Department, briefing officials on the dossier in October 2016,” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said during a hearing held to review the U.S. government’s response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Steele’s visit to Foggy Bottom in Washington, D.C., prior to the election has not been previously reported.
Burr revealed Steele’s visit during an exchange with Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs in former President Barack Obama’s administration.
Nuland was the State Department official who in late-June 2016 signed off on a meeting between Steele and the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland was familiar with Steele’s previous work on Russia- and Ukraine-related issues. (RELATED: Former State Department Official Emerges At Center Of Dossier Drama)
Steele began investigating President Donald Trump in June 2016 on behalf of Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that was working for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
A former MI6 officer with experience in Moscow, Steele wrote 17 separate reports for the 35-page dossier. The first report was filed on June 20, 2016. The last one is dated Dec. 13, 2016.
Nuland said Wednesday that she first saw memos from Steele’s dossier in mid-July 2016.
“I was first shown excerpts from the dossier, I believe in mid-July of 2016. It wasn’t the complete thing, which I didn’t see until it was published in the U.S. press,” she told Burr.
Nuland has said in previous interviews that she and other State Department officials referred the dossier to the FBI. Burr’s revelations suggest the agency maintained interest in Steele and his report much longer than previously known. (RELATED: Nunes: ‘Major Irregularities’ In State Department’s Handling Of Trump-Russia Info)
“This needs to go to the FBI, if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian federation. That’s something for the FBI to investigate,” Nuland said of the State Department’s response to the dossier in a Feb. 4 interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Nuland said Wednesday that she “actively chose not to be a part” of the October 2016 briefing. She also claimed that she “was not aware of [the briefing] until afterwards.”
The State Department’s handling of the Steele dossier is being investigated by at least one congressional committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Republicans on the panel have questioned what Nuland and other State Department officials did with the Steele information.
Another subject of interest in that investigation is Jonathan Winer, a longtime diplomat who left the State Department in 2017.
Winer has acknowledged that he met Steele during the summer in 2016 and discussed the retired spy’s Trump-related work.
Winer, who has known Steele since 2009, passed summaries of Steele’s dossier to others at the agency. He gave the summary to then Secretary of State John Kerry. It has previously been reported that Kerry was briefed on the dossier. It is unclear if he met with Steele during the former spy’s visit to State in October 2016. (RELATED: John Kerry Was Reportedly Briefed On The Steele Dossier)
Winer was also a source for the only two journalists to write articles based on Steele’s allegations prior to the 2016 election. The journalists, Michael Isikoff and David Corn, revealed their contacts with Winer in their recent book, “Russian Roulette.”
The State Department did not respond to a request for more information about Steele’s October 2016 visit.
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