Drip by drip, details have emerged over the past several months showing the Department of State under the Obama administration played a larger role at key junctures in the Trump-Russia probe than previously known.
State Department officials obtained and reviewed parts of the infamous Steele dossier by mid-July 2016, well before FBI headquarters had access to the document. The U.S. embassy in London was also an early recipient of information about former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the FBI would use to justify opening its counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016. And in a little-noticed Senate hearing on Wednesday, it was revealed that dossier author Christopher Steele briefed State Department officials at Foggy Bottom in October 2016.
The briefing suggests closer contacts between Steele and the State Department than the agency has acknowledged.
Three diplomats — Victoria Nuland, Jonathan Winer and Elizabeth Dibble — appear to be key to the State Department’s role in handling Trump-related Russia information.
Nuland, who was the Obama State Department’s top Russia expert, received excerpts of Steele’s dossier in mid-July 2016, about two months before the salacious document would reportedly make its way to the FBI team investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
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