Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona admitted today that he conveyed a file of salacious claims linked to Russia about President-elect Donald Trump. As questioned mounted as to his role in the matter, McCain said, “Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public.” The file contains numerous unverified claims about Trump. McCain said, “Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI.” He added, “That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.”
Trump said in a press conference today that it is a “disgrace” that U.S. intelligence agencies allowed the report got as far as it did at Buzzfeed and CNN. He also mentioned that the report erroneously connected his advisor Michael Cohen to the false report. When a CNN reporter demanded clarification, Trump refused to grant the question and said that CNN is “fake news.”
Trump, and the Russian government, have disowned the claims made in a dossier compiled by a former UK intelligence agent. Trump wrote on Twitter that he is being subjected to a “political witch hunt.” How the document ultimately came to McCain is not yet known officially. McCain officially ended his support for Trump in October, when the claims emerged. McCain said then, '"Donald Trump’s behavior... concluding with the disclosure of his demeaning comments about women and his boasts about sexual assaults, make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy.'”
The file claims that Russian intelligence recorded video of Trump in a Moscow hotel room cavorting with two female prostitutes, who supposedly conducted a perverted sex act and “defiled a bed” that had been previously used by President Barack Obama. Trump has labeled the report as “fake news.”
Veteran reporter Carl Bernstein suggested that a former British ambassador to Moscow gave the document to McCain. Speaking to CNN, Bernstein said, “It came from a former British MI6 agent who was hired from a political opposition research firm in Washington who was doing work about Donald Trump for both republican and democratic candidates opposed to Trump.
“They were looking at Trump’s business ties, they saw some questionable things about Russians, about his businesses in Russia, they in turn hired this MI6 former investigator, he then came up with additional information from his Russian sources, he was very concerned by the implications of it, he then took it to an FBI colleague that he had known in his undercover work for years, he took it to this FBI man in Rome who turned it over to the bureau in Washington in August.”
There is only one former UK ambassador to Russia who is still in British government service: Sir Tim Barrow. He is currently representing the UK to the European Union.