A recently resurfaced NPR interview suggests the individual responsible for leaking the Steele Dossier to Buzzfeed in 2017 did so as a “Hail Mary” attempt to prevent former President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
News of why the dossier was apparently leaked was met with little fanfare or headlines at the time. What’s more, the revelation from NPR’s interview indicates the media played a key role in the alleged plan to stop Trump from taking office.
David Kramer, a former State Department official and associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, leaked copies of the dossier – authored by former British spy Christopher Steele – to Buzzfeed News and multiple other networks.
NPR later conducted a 2019 interview with Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the duo responsible for hiring Steele on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The interview uncovers a revelation regarding the timing of the leaked dossier. According to Simpson and Fritsch, the Steele Dossier was leaked to Buzzfeed News in the hopes that it would “thwart” Trump’s upcoming inauguration. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To BuzzFeed)
From NPR’s interview, hosted by Terry Gross and titled “Fusion GPS Founders On Russian Efforts To Sow Discord: ‘They Have Succeeded'”:
GROSS: Refresh our memory about when BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier.
FRITSCH: BuzzFeed published a dossier on – excuse me – January 10, 2017.
GROSS: So it was after the election. It could no longer affect the outcome of the election.
SIMPSON: That’s correct. But it was before the inauguration. So what we say in the book is that the person who has now admitted to leaking the dossier was apparently trying to do was to thwart the swearing-in of Trump. And he believed that if this information got out, it might lead to – somehow to Trump’s inaugural being put off.
FRITSCH: The ultimate Hail Mary pass and ill-advised.
GROSS: Who was the leaker?
FRITSCH: So there was a John McCain – a person who was close to John McCain by the name of David Kramer, who’s a former – worked in the State Department for human rights for many years and is a – an avowed Russia hawk. He became aware of the document via Christopher Steele and his network and his former colleagues in MI6. They met with Senator McCain at the Halifax forum, which is an international forum not unlike the Aspen Institute Forum. They decided that they needed to pursue this. David Kramer flew to London; met with Christopher Steele, who showed him the dossier. Mister – Chris was wary of giving the document to David Kramer to carry on an airplane, so he asked us to hand it to him, which Glenn did.
Buzzfeed News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller regarding its publication of the dossier.
Later on in the NPR interview, Gross reiterated the news of Kramer’s alleged plan, asking if it was “ironic” that a McCain “aide” made the dossier public. (RELATED: WaPo Issues Massive Correction About Steele Dossier, Says It Can Not Stand By The Accuracy Of Two Stories)
“Do you find it ironic that it was an aide of John McCain’s who made the dossier public in the hopes of preventing Donald Trump from actually getting inaugurated?” Gross asked. “And it’s Lindsey Graham, one of McCain’s closest friends, who has been one of the leaders trying to question the Mueller report, trying to question the research that you did and supporting Donald Trump?”
“I think it’s ironic,” Simpson responded. “I think it’s hypocritical. And I think it’s depressing that a lot of people who know better are now standing up for Donald Trump. So yes, I think – you know, the Republicans paid for the first half of our investigation, and now they’re claiming it was all a Democratic hoax. It doesn’t make sense.”
The Steele Dossier contained a number of inaccurate Russia–Trump allegations. Authorities arrested Russian-born Igor Danchenko, identified in 2020 as the dossier’s primary researcher, in 2021 and made his indictment public.
The indictment cited a number of lies and falsities used throughout the dossier’s construction.