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August 09, 2018

Byron York: What Was Hillary Clinton's Cut-Out Christopher Steele Doing Pallin' Around With a Putin-Linked Russian Oligarch Who Wasn't Allowed in the United States But Really Wanted that Prohibition Lifted?

Collusion.

Emails in 2016 between former British spy Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr suggest Steele was deeply concerned about the legal status of a Putin-linked Russian oligarch, and at times seemed to be advocating on the oligarch's behalf, in the same time period Steele worked on collecting the Russia-related allegations against Donald Trump that came to be known as the Trump dossier. The emails show Steele and Ohr were in frequent contact, that they intermingled talk about Steele's research and the oligarch's affairs, and that Glenn Simpson, head of the dirt-digging group Fusion GPS that hired Steele to compile the dossier, was also part of the ongoing conversation.

The emails, given to Congress by the Justice Department, began on Jan. 12, 2016, when Steele sent Ohr a New Year's greeting. Steele brought up the case of Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska (referred to in various emails as both OD and OVD), who was at the time seeking a visa to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in the United States. Years earlier, the U.S. revoked Deripaska's visa, reportedly on the basis of suspected involvement with Russian organized crime. Deripaska was close to Paul Manafort, the short-term Trump campaign chairman now on trial for financial crimes, and this year was sanctioned in the wake of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Note that Christopher Steele seemed very interested in advancing his Oleg Deripaska's interests before he was paid to dig dirt on Trump.

So Oleg seems to be a pre-existing client. I mean acquaintance! Wow, I really brainfarted there, writing "client" when I meant "acquaintance."

"I heard from Adam WALDMAN [a Deripaska lawyer/lobbyist] yesterday that OD is applying for another official US visa ice [sic] APEC business at the end of February," Steele wrote in the Jan. 12 email. Steele said Deripaska was being "encouraged by the Agency guys who told Adam that the USG [United States Government] stance on [Deripaska] is softening." Steele concluded: "A positive development it seems."


...

York reports many emails and calls between Steele and Ohr speaking sweetly of Steele's patron Deripaska.

Whoops, I mean his pal Deripaska! I certainly don't mean to suggest that this Gentleman Spy and Patriot was actually on the payroll of a Russian oligarch linked to Putin!

Boy is my face red on that.

After a call between Ohr and Steele:

There is no note on what they discussed. But a few hours later, still on Oct. 18, Steele emailed Ohr again, and the subject was related to Deripaska. "Further to our Skypecon earlier today," Steele wrote, Hauser had asked Steele to forward to Ohr information about a dispute between the government of Ukraine and RUSAL, Deripaska's aluminum company. "Naturally, he [Hauser] wants to protect the client's [Deripaska's] interests and reputation," Steele wrote. "I pass it on for what it's worth."

We're passing State Department information to Putin-linked Russian oligarchs now?

So, was Christopher Steele being paid to do favors by his boss Deripaska before Hillary Clinton hired him to pay Russians for dirt on Trump?

Wait, I didn't mean his boss Deripaska, I meant his bestie Deripaska.

Boy, me with the typos today, am I right?

Anyway, some Senators are asking if their friendship included benefits, like this former British spy being paid money to do favors for this Putin-linked Russian oligarch:

On Feb. 9 of this year, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley wrote a letter to Hauser, the London lawyer, and asked, "Is it the case that Mr. Steele, through you, works or has worked on behalf of Mr. Deripaska or businesses associated with him?"

Hauser refused to answer, claiming such information was privileged....

"Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, last week sent a letter to a London-based lawyer who represents Mr. Deripaska," Cotton continued, "and asked if Christopher Steele was employed, either directly or indirectly, by Oleg Deripaska at the time he was writing the so-called Steele dossier. Do you know if Christopher Steele worked for Oleg Deripaska?'

"That's not something I can answer," Wray said.

"Could we discuss it in a classified setting?"


"There might be more we could say there," Wray answered.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 12:45 PM

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