According to a new book that was released on Tuesday, a senior bureaucrat at the State Department under Barack Obama started the process by which an FBI agent met with former British spy Christopher Steele in 2016. It was the latter who developed the uncorroborated dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump that formed part of the rationale for an FBI investigation into Trump’s campaign and snooping on communications by private citizens.
In “Russian Roulette,” it is alleged that the allegations developed by Steele fueled the continuing investigation into supposed collusion between Donald Trump and Russia. The book authored by Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News and David Corn of left-wing Mother Jones magazine, alleged that allegations that led to federal wiretaps on Carter Page -- a Trump campaign volunteer -- came from romantic “pillow talk” involving a senior Russian official.
Steele was contracted by Fusion GPS -- the opposition research firm hired by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign -- to develop the dossier. The book contends that Steele pushed Glenn Simpson, of Fusion GPS, to allow him to contact the FBI with sordid allegations about Trump. When Simpson agreed, Steele contacted FBI agent Michael Gaeta, who was stationed at the American embassy in Rome. Steel told Gaeta, “I can’t discuss it over the phone. You have to come here. Believe me, Mike, you have to come to London.”
“Russian Roulette” alleges that when the FBI contacted Victoria Nuland’s office at the State Department to ask for clearance for the meeting, Nuland “gave the green light.” On July 5, 2016, Gaeta arrived in London where he met with Steele. It was there that Steele provided a copy of the dossier. Gaeta decided to report it to his headquarters.
During testimony this year, investigators at the Senate Judiciary Committee found evidence that Steele met with another Obama administration official, Jonathan Winer of the State Department. It was he who arranged a meeting for Winer with Hillary Clinton’s ally, Sidney Blumenthal. Also, Winer spoke with Nuland, who then informed Secretary of State John Kerry.
Nuland was a career diplomat who served in the Obama administration as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. She now serves as chief executive at the Center for a New American Security. Her husband, historian and neo-conservative Robert Kagan, left the Republican Party in 2016 after concluding that Trump is a fascist.