The late Sen. John McCain had denied he or a member of his staff had leaked the unverified Trump dossier to the media and became angry at a reporter who pressed the issue.
The former Arizona Republican had accused a reporter of “questioning my integrity” when she followed up with questions about the dossier which contained unverified claims about the president and Russia and was compiled by former British spy, Christopher Steele.
Daily Caller reporter Kerry Picket asked McCain in October 2017 if he or anybody on his staff had distributed the Steele dossier to the media. The senator denied it and became angry when Picket pressed him for an answer, as can be heard in a recently surfaced recording.
“The answer is no. I was the only one that had it… you are questioning my integrity right now. The answer is no. Please don’t ask it again. I gave it to no one except the Director of the FBI. And I don’t know why you’re digging this up now,” McCain said.
— Kerry Picket (@KerryPicket) March 25, 2019
It was later learned that former State Department official and longtime McCain staffer, David Kramer, had reportedly given a copy of the infamous dossier to BuzzFeed, which ended up publishing it.
President Trump has repeatedly slammed the late senator for giving the FBI the dossier “for very evil purposes.”
“If you realize, about three days ago it came out that his main person gave to the FBI the fake news dossier. It was a fake and a fraud, it was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. They gave it to John McCain, who gave it to the FBI for very evil purposes. That’s not good,” Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo last week.
Sen. Lindsey Graham defended the late senator and his close friend who died of brain cancer last August, telling reporters earlier this week that McCain did not even know his own staff had leaked the dossier.
He also revealed that he told the president that “Senator McCain deserves better. Trump believes that it was the McCain people who spread this. He’s right.”
“My agenda is twofold, to honor my friend for the rest of my life in every way I can and help this president be successful,” the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told CNN Wednesday.
“To all those people who bring up this narrative, you just hate Trump. You don’t really care about McCain and me. This is a game.” pic.twitter.com/W4osyOPzAa
— Kate Bolduan (@KateBolduan) March 27, 2019
Graham also reportedly urged McCain to turn the dossier over to the FBI.
“There were some McCain people who took a piece of garbage and tried to go after Trump after the election. But I told the president it was not John McCain. I know because John McCain showed me the dossier,” Graham told reporters, according to the Washington Examiner. “And I told him the only thing I know to do with it, it could be a bunch of garbage, it could be true, who knows, turn it over to somebody whose job it is to find out. And John McCain acted appropriately.”
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