Documents Link Putin’s ‘Favorite’ Oligarch and Obama Official Who Aided Author of Anti-Trump Dossier

Monday, March 12, 2018
By Paul Martin

12 Mar 2018

NEW YORK — Jonathan M. Winer, the Obama State Department official who acknowledged regularly interfacing and exchanging information with the author of the largely discredited 35-page anti-Trump dossier, signed disclosure forms for his former firm to represent a Russian billionaire known as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarch.

The detail, being brought to light herein, may raise immediate questions about the origins of the dossier. The oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, had a reported business dispute with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, is closely tied to Putin and has long been viewed as pushing Russian national interests.

Already, there have been questions about Deripaska’s possible relationship with dossier author Christopher Steele amid reports that the billionaire may have served as a source for the dossier itself.

Also, recently leaked text messages show extensive communication between a Russia-connected lawyer and Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The attorney, Adam Waldman, was a paid lobbyist for Deripaska. The messages show Warner attempted to arrange a meeting with Steele through Waldman.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley recently sent a letter to an attorney believed to be working for Deripaska asking whether the lawyer had hired Steele’s private firm, Orbis Business Intelligence Limited, to do work on behalf of Deripaska. A recent New Yorker article profiling Steele also raised the possibility that Deripaska was one of Steele’s private clients.

At a hearing last month, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) asked FBI Director Christopher Wray whether there was information that Steele was working with Deripaska when he compiled the dossier. Wray responded that he could not answer the question at a public hearing.

A January letter from Grassley sent to John Podesta, who served as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, asked Podesta to provide the Senate Judicial Committee with correspondence with numerous individuals, including Deripaska. That same letter was sent to the Perkins Coie law firm, which represented Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Steele was commissioned to produce the dossier by the controversial Fusion GPS opposition research firm, which was paid for its anti-Trump work by Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the DNC via Perkins Coie.

While questions surround Steele’s possible ties to Deripaska, the news media and legislative investigators may have missed a confirmed link between Deripaska and a State Department official involved in passing anti-Trump claims to Steele during the period that the dossier was compiled – namely Winer.

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