"Devin Nunes is investigating me. Here's the truth," is the Washington Post headline. It's meant to carry the insouciant house style of viral social media.
But it's the paper most closely linked to the effort to overturn the 2016 election (democracy dies in darkness) giving a key suspect a forum to defend himself. And no amount of bravado can change that.
The man being investigated in Jonathan Winer, formerly of the State Department, who has Clinton ties. And his piece is an attempt to spin his role in acting as one interface between Clintonworld and the Steele dossier.
… 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.
...In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the “dossier.” Steele’s sources suggested that the Kremlin not only had been behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign but also had compromised Trump and developed ties with his associates and campaign.
...In late September, I spoke with an old friend, Sidney Blumenthal, whom I met 30 years ago when I was investigating the Iran-contra affair for then-Sen. Kerry and Blumenthal was a reporter at The Post.
...Blumenthal and I discussed Steele’s reports. He showed me notes gathered by a journalist I did not know, Cody Shearer, that alleged the Russians had compromising information on Trump of a sexual and financial nature.
What struck me was how some of the material echoed Steele’s but appeared to involve different sources.
Appeared is a key word there. It's conveniently vague.
On my own, I shared a copy of these notes with Steele, to ask for his professional reaction. He told me it was potentially “collateral” information. I asked him what that meant. He said that it was similar but separate from the information he had gathered from his sources. I agreed to let him keep a copy of the Shearer notes.
Given that I had not worked with Shearer and knew that he was not a professional intelligence officer, I did not mention or share his notes with anyone at the State Department. I did not expect them to be shared with anyone in the U.S. government.
But I learned later that Steele did share them — with the FBI, after the FBI asked him to provide everything he had on allegations relating to Trump, his campaign and Russian interference in U.S. elections.
And he's shocked that this outcome, which he had never, intended, took place.
I trimmed most of Winer's narrative. There are better stories on the Fiction shelf of your local library. The significant material here is an admission that Winer did serve as a conduit between Steele and Blumenthal, and that the material was produced by Shearer and then passed along by Blumenthal. The rest can be safely disregarded.
We're drawing a map of the dossier pipeline. And it ran through Clinton associates.
Winer claims that all of this was unintended. That Shearer and Blumenthal didn't even know Steele. And that Steele passed along the material on his own initiative.
That's been the general story coming out of Clintonworld. And Christopher Steele might want to beware. Even as Clintonworld is trying to portray Steele as a heroic crusader, they're putting all the responsibility on him. Blumenthal, Shearer and Winer did nothing. Steele did everything. Clintonworld has itself a British patsy. And I hope he realizes that's what he was getting paid for.