Fox News reports that one of Sen. John McCain’s closest associates, David Kramer, has opted to take the Fifth Amendment rather than testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Kramer has been under subpoena from the committee since January; lawmakers want to speak to him about the sources Christopher Steele used to compile the infamous dossier that formed the backbone of the “Trump Collusion Theory” that lingers on to this day. In a closed-door session in December, Kramer told the committee that he had knowledge about the Russians from whom Steele gleaned the information found in the document.
Kramer, incidentally, is also one of the men responsible for putting the dossier into the hands of the FBI.
According to a law enforcement source who talked to Fox News reporters, Kramer was scheduled to appear before the committee last month. Instead, he refused to show up, hiding behind his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. This is interesting not only because of what it says of Kramer’s motives but also because he has already testified under oath.
From Fox News:
Kramer gave a videotaped deposition last December in separate civil litigation against BuzzFeed about the dossier and his contact with the former British spy who compiled it, Christopher Steele. Steele was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to write and research the dossier, with funding from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.
According to British court records obtained by Fox News as part of its ongoing investigation of the Trump dossier, Kramer was personally briefed in late November 2016 by Steele in Surrey, England. After that briefing, Steele told the British court that an arrangement was made so that Fusion GPS — co-founded by Glenn Simpson – would provide hard copies of the dossier to McCain via Kramer. Shortly afterward, the dossier was given to the FBI, which already had its own copy from Steele.
BuzzFeed is trying to prepare for libel litigation being filed against them by a Russian businessman named in the dossier. It may be that their depositions and subpoenas turn out to shine more light on this sordid business than anything we end up getting from the federal government. When it comes to civil litigation, high-priced attorneys play hardball. BuzzFeed is not going to pay out a libel settlement without exhausting every avenue of the dossier’s pedigree: Where it came from, who Steele’s sources were, what the FBI did with it, and so forth.
You know, the questions we’d all very much like answers to.