“Now that wasn’t very nice, was it?” Trump tweeted in response to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, who shared a report on McCain.
The report revealed that Christopher Steele — the former British intelligence officer behind the Steel dossier — used the late senator to funnel claims to former FBI Director James Comey. The finding was originally in Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report of the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The controversial Steele dossier was found to contain “potentially serious problems” by the FBI and was still used as the basis for the FISA warrant to wiretap former Trump campaign official Carter Page. In addition, McCain brought the claims to Comey after the FBI dropped Steele as a source, although it’s unclear if McCain was aware of this fact at the time.
There were reportedly five new claims McCain brought to Comey that were not previously in possession by the FBI. McCain allegedly obtained the new information from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, who was hired to conduct opposition research into Trump by the president’s primary opponents.
In his book The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, which was published after his death, McCain defended his decision to pass on the claims to Comey.
“I did what duty demanded I do. I discharged that obligation, and I would do it again. Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell,” he wrote, per The Guardian.
#FISA January 2017 Comey told President-elect Trump FBI didn’t know if Steele allegations true, and “FBI not investigating them” Note: IG Horowitz reports “In mid-November and December 2016, FBI officials travelled abroad” to asses credibility Steele p182. #MyHighlighter #Durham pic.twitter.com/T93wwl8yuX— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) December 22, 2019
McCain described how he first came into contact with Steele and his dossier, Business Insider reported. McCain said he was approached by British diplomat Sir Andrew Wood, who revealed to McCain why he sparked a conversation with him.
“He told me he knew a former MI6 officer by the name of Christopher Steele, who had been commissioned to investigate connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents as well as potentially compromising information about the President-elect that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin allegedly possessed.”
Wood reportedly told McCain that Steele created a report, although Wood noted that the information was unverified. Regardless, Wood believed the dossier “merited a thorough examination by counterintelligence experts.”
McCain described the interaction as “charged with a strange intensity” as the pair spoke in low voices.
“The room was dimly lit, and the atmosphere was eerie,” McCain wrote.