The State Department is now under the microscope and being pressured to provide information about an October 2016 meeting between dossier author Christopher Steele and State Department official Kathleen Kavalec. Kavalec’s notes from the meeting cast an entirely new light on who knew what, when.
This past week, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley, Ron Johnson, and Lindsey Graham sent letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo probing for details about the Oct. 11, 2016 meeting, which was held at the State Department between Steele and Kavalec, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.
Steele, former MI6 British intelligence officer, is now known to have been investigating presidential candidate Donald Trump and his campaign on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
Kavalec’s notes from the meeting were released this past week after being acquired by Citizens United via a FOIA lawsuit. They demonstrate that Steele told her about contacts he had with the media, including The New York Times and Washington Post. They also show that Steele said that his then-unidentified client for his anti-Trump research campaign was “keen” to see information on Trump released prior to the November 2016 election.
In addition, Steele reportedly made false claims to Kavalec, including that Russia had planted a mole within the DNC and that the Russian government had a consulate in Miami.
The three Republican senators said in their letters that the notes contradict several claims that the FBI made in applications for surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The Steele dossier was the basis for the FBI obtaining FISA warrants.
Grassley and Johnson chair the Senate Banking and Senate Homeland Security Committees respectively. In the letter they sent Thursday to Pompeo, they stated that any contacts Steele had with the media would contradict FBI claims in the Carter Page warrants.
“If true, that would contradict the Carter Page FISA application where the FBI repeatedly represented to the court that Steele did not have unauthorized contacts with the press prior to October 2016,” they wrote. “Based on the publicly-released version of the typed notes of the meeting, it appears Steele’s intent of the meeting with the State Department was to maximize the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign.
“Further, if that information was included in the material submitted to the FBI,” they added, “then the FBI may have been aware of Steele’s political motivations before submitting any FISA application.”
Grassley and Johnson asked Pompeo to disclose when the State Department informed the FBI about Steele’s dossier and the meeting with Kavalec. The bureau obtained its first surveillance warrant against Page Oct. 21, 2016 … 10 days after the Kavalec-Steele meeting.
In Graham’s Friday letter to Pompeo, he requested all copies of communications between Steele and State Department employees, as well as between State employees and the Justice Department regarding Steele. Graham is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He also asked Pompeo to make Kavalec available for a transcribed interview.
In a related development, the Daily Caller reported …
Jonathan Winer, who then served as special envoy to Libya, also met with Steele in Summer 2016. The pair had known each other since 2009, and Steele shared more than 100 of his private intelligence reports with Winer over the years. Winer, who shared those reports with others at the State Department, appears to have set up the meeting with Kavalec. He is mentioned throughout Kavalec’s notes.
Winer was also a source for at least two news articles written by reporters who received information from Steele. Michael Isikoff and David Corn revealed in a book they co-authored that Winer was a background source for stories they wrote before the 2016 election. The Daily Caller News Foundation has published emails showing that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who hired Steele, was in contact with Winer the day before Isikoff’s article was published on Sept. 23, 2016.