Senator John McCain and David Kramer, a McCain associate and former State Department employee, played a key role in spreading the famously debunked 'Steele Dossier' on Donald Trump's alleged collusion with Russia, newly unsealed court filings have shown, according to Fox News.
McCain, who denied being the source of the leak to news site BuzzFeed, which published the unverified document in full in January 2017, did admit to giving it to the FBI, with court filings by former senior counterintelligence agent Bill Priestap confirming that McCain handed them the first 33 pages of the 35 page dossier in December 2016.
Kramer, for his part, admitted to sharing the dossier with journalists from over a dozen media outlets, including BuzzFeed, CNN and the Washington Post. Kramer received the document from ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired separately by both anti-Trump conservatives as well as the Clinton campaign in 2015 and 2016 via private investigative firm Fusion GPS to investigate Trump's alleged links to Russia.
Kramer also admitted to leaving a BuzzFeed journalist alone in a room with the dossier, with the journalist then presumably taking pictures of the document for later publication.
The filings were unsealed as part of an ongoing libel case against BuzzFeed by Aleksei Gubarev, a Russian businessman named in the dossier who sued BuzzFeed for defamation. The dossier accuses his technology company of "using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct 'altering operations' against the Democratic Party leadership."
Other Russian businessmen and several Trump associates have launched their own libel suits against BuzzFeed and others who had a role in spreading the disinformation.thoroughly discredited, with its accusations, ranging from claims of potentially treasonous Russia-related financial activity by Trump to allegations that Russia was responsible for the Democratic National Committee email hacks, remaining unsubstantiated after well over two years of investigations by the FBI, Congress and US media.
One particularly sordid claim associated with the dossier alleges that Trump had been compromised or blackmailed by Russian intelligence after hiring prostitutes to perform a 'golden shower' (urination) show for him in a Moscow hotel room, and that the incident had been taped. While the claim has gone on to become a popular rumour used against Trump by by his opponents online, no evidence has ever been provided to substantiate the allegation.
Trump has described the dossier as a "pile of garbage" and decried US intelligence agencies and media for giving it any credence.