Documents Link Putin’s ‘Favorite’ Oligarch and Obama Official Who Aided Author of Anti-Trump Dossier
NEW YORK — Jonathan M. Winer, the Obama State Department official who confessed frequently unilaterally and exchanging data with the author of the mostly discredited 35-page anti-Trump dossier, signed disclosure forms for his former company to represent a Russian billionaire called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarch.
The doc, may raise immediate questions regarding the roots of the dossier. The oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, had a reported business dispute with former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort, is closely tied to Putin and has long been viewed as pushing Russian national interests.
Already, there have been queries regarding Deripaska’s possible relationship with dossier author Christopher Steele amid reports that the billionaire may have functioned as a resource for your dossier itself.
Additionally, recently leaked text messages show extensive communication between a Russia-connected attorney and Sen. Mark Warner, the leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The attorney, Adam Waldman, had been also a paid lobbyist for Deripaska. The messages show Warner tried to arrange a meeting using Steele through Waldman.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley recently sent a letter to a lawyer believed to be operating for Deripaska inquiring whether the attorney had hired Steele’s personal company, Orbis Business Intelligence Limited, to perform work on behalf of Deripaska. A recent New Yorkerv article profiling Steele also increased the risk that Deripaska was among Steele’s personal customers.
At a hearing last month, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) requested FBI Director Christopher Wray whether there was data which Steele was working with Deripaska if he published the dossier. Wray responded that he could not answer the question at a public hearing.
A January letter by Grassley sent to John Podesta, who served as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, requested Podesta to offer that the Senate Judicial Committee with correspondence with numerous people, including Deripaska. That identical 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 company, which was paid for its anti-Trump function by Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the DNC through Perkins Coie.
While questions encircle Steele’s possible ties to Deripaska, the information media and legislative investigators may have missed a verified connection between Deripaska plus also a State Department official involved with passing anti-Trump asserts to Steele during the period which the dossier was published — specifically Winer.
After his name surfaced in news media reports associated with probes by House Republicans into the dossier, Winer authored a Washington Postoped in which he conceded that while he had been operating at the State Department he exchanged documents and data with dossier author and former British spy Christopher Steele.
Winer further confessed that while at the State Department he shared anti-Trump substance with Steele handed to him by longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, whom Winer explained as an “old friend.” Winer wrote that the substance out of Blumenthal — which Winer subsequently gave to Steele — originated by Cody Shearer, who’s a controversial figure attached to various Clinton scandals.
The Steele dossier has been reportedly used by the FBI as a way to run its probe into Trump over unsubstantiated claims of collusion with Russia. In accordance with House Intelligence Committee records, the questionable dossier was also used by Obama government officials to get a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, who briefly served as a volunteer foreign policy advisor to Trump’s campaign. The political sources of this dossier and issues pertaining to Steele’s authenticity as a supply were retained out of the FISA court, a House Republican memo records.
Winer’s company represented Deripaska in visa dispute
In July 2006 the U.S. declared a multi-entry visa which Deripaska had procured one year before, with the Wall Street Journallinking the decision to concerns within the mogul’s alleged connections to organized crime.
In 2005, Deripaska hired the Alston & Bird law firm to lobby on his behalf paying the company about $260,000, according to disclosure forms obtained at the time by Reuters. The lobby work was associated with “Department of State visa policies and procedures,” the records state.
Winer at the time had been a partner at Alston & Bird. He was the individual who registered the forms to signify Deripaska, Reuters reported at the time.
Winer exchanged information using Steele
Winer functioned in Bill Clinton’s government as the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement. He wrote in his recent Washington Post oped that he rejoined the State Department in 2013 at the insistence of John Kerry. “In 2013, I returned to the State Department at the request of Secretary of State John F. Kerry, whom I had previously served as Senate counsel,” he wrote.
In the Post piece, Winer related that while he had been at the State Department, he repeatedly passed Russia-related records from Steele to State officials, for example to Victoria Nuland, a career diplomat who worked beneath the Clintons and served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs under Kerry. “Over the next two years, I shared more than 100 of Steele’s reports with the Russia experts at the State Department, who continued to find them useful,” he wrote.
Winer wrote that in the summer of 2016, Steele “told me that he had learned of disturbing information regarding possible ties between Donald Trump, his campaign and senior Russian officials.”
Winer claims that he met with Steele from September 2016 to discuss details that could later become known as the anti-Trump dossier. Winer wrote that he prepared a two-page overview of Steele’s advice and “shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.”
Besides bringing Steele’s dossier data to the State Department, Winer declared that he passed data from Blumenthal to Steele, specifically costs about Trump that originated using Shearer.
Winer explained what he promised was that the evolution of his connections with Blumenthal regarding Shearer’s advice:
In late September I talked with an elderly friend, Sidney Blumenthal, whom I met with 30 decades ago when I had been investigating the Iran-Contra event for then-Sen. Kerry and Blumenthal had been a reporter at the Post. At the time, Russian hacking was at the very front and centre from the 2016 presidential campaign. The mails of Blumenthal, who had a lengthy affiliation with Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been murdered in 2013 through a Russian host.
While speaking about that hacking, Blumenthal and I spoke Steele’s reports. He showed me notes accumulated by a journalist I didn’t understand, Cody Shearersaid who alleged that the Russians had undermining advice on Trump of a sexual and fiscal character.
What struck me was how some of the substance uttered Steele’s but appeared to involve unique sources.
Shearer has numerous close personal and family connections to the Clintons and has reportedly been included in numerous antics attached to them. National Review previously dubbed Shearer that a “Creepy Clinton Confidante” along with “The Strangest Character in Hillary’s Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.”
Putin’s Preferred oligarch
Deripaska, using an estimated net value of $6.4 billion, is founder and owner of Basic Element, among Russia’s largest diversified industrial teams. The company runs “energy, metals and mining, machinery, aviation, financial services and agriculture businesses worldwide,” according to a Bloomberg profile.
Bloomberg recorded the other enormous portfolios of Basic Element:
It generates aluminum; creates hydropower and nuclear energy; creates automotive parts, aircraft, building materials, military equipment, road-building and construction equipment, and freight cars; manages facilities; develops and generates hi-tech equipment and multi-functional vehicles; trades carbon emissions; layouts and constructs residential infrastructure; provides civil and infrastructure construction services; manages commercial property also enables office premises, manufacturing sites and warehouses; provides financial and legal aid.
Canada’s Globe and Mail previously profiled Deripaska within a broad piece titled, “At home with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.” The newspaper reported that Deripaska “is said to be Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s favorite industrialist.”
The New Yorker also reported this month which Deripaska “has been described as Putin’s favorite oligarch.”
The billionaire’s connection with Putin was briefly publicly strained in 2009 due to a fiscal meltdown in Russia, but the powerful ties soon recovered and some say the short-lived strain was public theater.
The Globe and Mail recorded:
The tragedy seemed to damage Mr. Deripaska’s connection with Mr. Putin, yet. In a televised broadcast in mid-2009 in a hard-hit Russian industrial city called Pikalyovo, Mr. Putin compared industrial barons who left employees’ wages unpaid to cockroaches. He then forced Mr. Deripaska to sign a document safeguarding the future of a local factory, snapping “And give me back my pen,” the moment the crestfallen oligarch did so.
The event played well in recession-racked Russia, but may have been staged political theatre. There no longer appears to be any friction between the two men.
He won the Order of Friendship from the Russian Federation in 1999 and was appointed by Putin to represent the Russian Federation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council in 2004.
A U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks and dated from 2006 described Deripaska as “one of the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns into a regular basis.”
Deripaska and Manafort
The Post reported:
In 2014, Deripaska accused Manafort in a Cayman Islands court of taking nearly $19 million intended for investments and then failing to account for the funds, return them or respond to numerous inquiries about exactly how the money was used. There are no signs in court documents that the case has been closed.
The Post also cited “people familiar with the discussions” claiming that Manafort offered to privately brief Deripaska on the 2016 presidential race.
However, the newspaper allowed:
And a spokeswoman for Deripaska dismissed the email exchanges as scheming by “advisers in the infamous ‘beltway bandit’ industry.”
While the Winer-Deripaska link has not yet been debated, questions about whether dossier author Steele’s firm did work for the oligarch during the time the dossier was compiled has prompted concerns about the origins of the already controversial document.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) recently told Breitbart News in an interview that he was familiar with accusations that Deripaska may have been a source for dossier author Steele, explaining he cannot share information on the matter publicly, before adding, “It is a concern of ours.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) raised questions last month relating to Deripaska and Steele. “The other significant news was watching what Sen. Cotton requested Wray. Was Steele being employed by paid by this Russian oligarch? The answer was interesting,” Jordan told The Daily Caller in an interview at CPAC.
Jordan continued: “We do not know if he was getting paid via this oligarch. Therefore that the man who put this dossier, which was taken to a secret court, which was provided a secret warrant to spy on someone connected to the Trump campaign — a fellow American citizen. That dossier was paid for by Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and also maybe a Russian oligarch? You’ve got to be kidding me. So that is why we must get to the base of all of this and keep pushing.”
The three congressional inquiries (Senate Judiciary, Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence), as well as special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, are based largely on allegations made in the dossier. Did his work on behalf of Deripaska influence his investigations into the Trump team’s possible ties to Russia? Was Deripaska one of Steele’s Kremlin-insider sources — and what does that tell us about the contents and purpose of the Steele dossier?
In an op-ed at the Washington Post, Ed Rogers, a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, asked:
So, today, when the Democrats and their allies in the media insist that we need to know what the Russians did to influence the election and interfere in the democratic process, it is fair to ask which Russians are they talking about? Are they talking about the Russians who were solicited by Steele and his Democrat paymasters? What were the Russians’ pursuits and were any of those paying Steele? (A brand new story links Steele to Putin ally Oleg Deripaska.)