Several months ago it emerged that the Republican sponsor behind the Fusion GPS Trump project was hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, a fact which surprised many who expected that John McCain would be the GOP mastermind looking for dirt in Trump's past. However, a new and credible McCain trail has emerged in the annals of the "Trump Dossier" after the Washington Examiner reported that the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to an associate of John McCain over his connection with the salacious dossier containing unverified allegations about Trump and his ties to Russia, which many speculate served as the illegitimate basis for FISA warrants against the Trump campaign - permitting the NSA to listen in on Trump's phone calls - and which the president yesterday slammed as "bogus" and a "crooked Hillary pile of garbage."
In the latest twist, committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) wants to talk to David Kramer, a former State Department official and current senior fellow at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, about his visit to London in November 2016. During his trip, at McCain's request Kramer met with the dossier's author, former British spy Christopher Steele, to view “the pre-election memoranda on a confidential basis,” according to court filings and to receive a briefing and a copy of the Trump dossier. Kramer then returned to the U.S. to give the document to McCain. McCain then took a copy of the dossier to the FBI's then-director, James Comey. But the FBI already had the document; Steele himself gave the dossier to the bureau in installments, reportedly beginning in early July 2016.
While McCain, recovering in Arizona from treatments for cancer, has long refused to detail his actions regarding the dossier, his associate Kramer was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee on Dec. 19. The new subpoena stems from statements Kramer made in that interview. In the session, the Washington Examiner reports, Kramer told House investigators that he knew the identities of the Russian sources for the allegations in Steele's dossier. But when investigators pressed Kramer to reveal those names, he declined to do so.
Now, he is under subpoena which was issued Wednesday afternoon, and directs Kramer to appear again before House investigators on Jan. 11.
As the ongoing government probe slowly turns away from Trump's "collusion" with the Russians and toward the FBI "insurance policy" to allegedly prevent Trump from becoming president by fabricating a narrative of Russian cooperation with the Trump, knowing Steele's sources will be a critical part of the congressional dossier investigation:
"If one argues the document is unverified and never will be, it is critical to learn the identity of the sources to support that conclusion. If one argues the document is the whole truth, or largely true, knowing sources is equally critical."
There is another reason to know Steele's sources, and that is to learn not just the origin of the dossier but its place in the larger Trump-Russia affair. As the WashEx adds, there is a belief among some congressional investigators that the Russians who provided information to Steele were using Steele to disrupt the American election as much as the Russians who distributed hacked Democratic Party emails. In some investigators' views, they are the two sides of the Trump-Russia project, both aimed at sowing chaos and discord in the American political system.
Still, investigators who favor this theory ask a sensible question: "It is likely that all the Russians involved in the attempt to influence the 2016 election were lying, scheing, Kremlin-linked, Putin-backed enemies of America – except the Russians who talked to Christopher Steele?"
On the other hand, the theory is still just a theory, for now... and as the Examiner's Byron York correctly points out, to validate -or refute - it House investigators will seek Steele's sources – and is why they will try to compel Kramer to talk.