by WorldTribune Staff, March 15, 2019
A former aide to Sen. John McCain testified he leaked the anti-Trump dossier to several media outlets.
David Kramer made the revelation during testimony in a libel lawsuit brought by Russian businessman Aleksej Gubarev against BuzzFeed, which first published in full the dossier by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.
Gubarev was accused by Steele of conducting the hacking into Democratic Party computers during the 2016 presidential election campaign, which Gubarev denied.
Kramer testified that he leaked the Democrat-financed dossier to The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt, CNN’s Carl Bernstein, National Public Radio, McClatchy news service and others.
U.S. District Court in Miami unsealed court files on Mach 14, marking the first time Kramer’s version of events has become public.
Kramer said his most fruitful meeting was with Ken Bensinger of BuzzFeed.
Kramer testified that, which he was in Washington during the Christmastime holidays, he let Bensinger read the dossier. He then stepped away. The reporter took cellphone photos. They ended up on Jan. 10, 2017 on BuzzFeed’s website.
“He said he wanted to read them, he asked me if he could take photos of them on his – I assume it was an iPhone,” Kramer told the court. “I asked him not to. He said he was a slow reader, he wanted to read it. So I said, you know, I got a phone call to make, and I had to go to the bathroom so I’ll let you be, because I don’t read well when people are looking at me breathing down my neck. And so I left him to read for 20, 30 minutes.”
“Were you aware that he had taken pictures?” an attorney asked.
“Not until January 10th,” he answered. “I was shocked.”
Kramer said he asked Bensinger to take down the dossier and leave his name out of it. Kramer was identified as the dossier leaker during the libel case’s discovery.
Kramer said Steele told him, “This wasn’t supposed to happen this way.”
Kramer testified that he read the dossier at Steele’s home outside London. Steele said the allegations were “raw intelligence” that needed to be confirmed.
“He said that he had been hired to look into Donald Trump’s dealings in Russia, and that in the course of doing so, he came upon material that indicated that there were close ties between the Trump campaign and various Russians, and the possibility of compromising material on Mr. Trump,” Kramer testified.
“He explained that what was produced … needed to be corroborated and verified. He himself did not feel that he was in a position to vouch for everything that was produced in this,” Kramer said.
Steele testified in the libel case that he relied on an Internet gossip page to try to verify one of his key charges.
Steele also believed McCain’s involvement would give “the FBI additional prod to take this seriously,” Kramer testified.
“I shared with [Mr. McCain] the document, and he took some time to review it, he asked me what I thought he should do, and I suggested that he provide a copy of it to the Director of the FBI and the Director of the CIA,” Kramer testified.
Washington Times correspondent Rowan Scarborough reported that Gubarev’s lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Ursula Ungaro, who ruled that BuzzFeed was entitled to report on the dossier under the First Amendment’s free press guarantees – thus shielding it from U.S. libel laws – because the FBI used it in its investigation.