- Christopher Steele testified in March that a former State Department official and longtime Clinton ally contacted him in summer 2016 regarding the Trump dossier.
- Strobe Talbott told him he had learned of the dossier project from one or more Obama administration officials, Steele said.
- Multiple former State Department officials were involved in handling and disseminating Steele’s dossier, which came under intense scrutiny in a Justice Department inspector general’s report.
Former British spy Christopher Steele testified in March that a longtime ally of the Clintons contacted him in summer 2016 about his investigation into Donald Trump after learning about it from one or more Obama administration officials.
Strobe Talbott, the former president of the Brookings Institution, contacted him in the months leading up to the 2016 election inquiring about an investigation he was conducting at the time into Trump’s possible ties to Russia, Steele said in a sworn deposition on March 18.
“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 US election,” Steele testified of Talbott, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration.
Steele, who was testifying in the United Kingdom as part of a defamation lawsuit against him, said that Talbott indicated he had learned about Steele’s Trump-related work from either State Department official Victoria Nuland or National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
“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, referring to Nuland and Rice.
A spokeswoman for Rice, Erin Pelton, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that it is “utterly and completely false” that Rice spoke to Talbott about Steele’s work. Nuland and Talbott did not respond to requests for comment. (RELATED: Christopher Steele Provided Information To Longtime Clinton Crony)
Nuland, who is a non-resident fellow at Brookings, had previous links to Steele. She received dozens of reports from the ex-spy in 2014 and 2015 related to Russia and Ukraine. She also authorized an FBI agent to meet with Steele on July 5, 2016, shortly after he began investigating Trump on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign.
Carter Page, a major target of the dossier, blasted Talbott over his contacts with Steele.
“Strobe Talbott is someone who I had long known and respected,” Page told the DCNF.
“The new evidence revealing that he and his colleagues from the Brookings Institution got involved in this severe election interference campaign with the DNC-funded Dodgy Dossier truly shocks the conscience.”
Steele had revealed in an Aug. 1, 2018, court filing in the case that he talked with Talbott about the dossier, and provided him a copy of the salacious report in November 2016. Other details about Talbott’s involvement in the dossier saga have trickled out in recent months.
Fiona Hill, a former Brookings official who worked in the Trump administration, testified to Congress in 2019 that Talbott provided her a copy of the dossier on Jan. 9, 2017, a day before BuzzFeed News published the salacious document.
Hill testified in another setting in 2019 that she believed that Steele’s dossier includes disinformation from Russia.
The FBI received evidence in 2017 that Russian intelligence operatives might have fed disinformation to Steele. A Justice Department inspector general’s report said that the U.S. intelligence community told the FBI in June 2017 that two Russian intelligence officers were aware of Steele’s investigation of Trump as early as July 2016.
Talbott’s interest in the dossier raises questions about what he knew of another Trump-related investigation that focused on allegations similar to Steele’s.
Talbott’s brother-in-law, Cody Shearer, compiled two memos alleging that the Kremlin has video of Trump in Moscow engaged in lewd sexual behavior. Steele’s initial dossier memo, dated June 20, 2016, includes a similar allegation.
Steele’s State Department contact, Jonathan Winer, handled both of the dossiers. Winer provided Steele with a copy of Shearer’s memos. Steele in turn provided those to the FBI. Winer also shared Steele’s documents with his State Department colleagues. He also arranged a meeting for Steele with Kathleen Kavalec, a deputy to Nuland, on Oct. 11, 2016.
Talbott left the Brookings Institution in October 2017 after 15 years leading the think tank. A former college classmate of Bill Clinton, he was appointed in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve as chairman of State Department’s Foreign Affairs Advisory Board, which served as a mechanism to provide foreign policy advice to officials at Foggy Bottom.
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