Back Channel To Christopher Steele Goes On The Record About Senate Testimony

An American lawyer who served as a back channel between dossier author Christopher Steele and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is opening up about explosive testimony he gave to a Senate committee late last year.

Adam Waldman said that during an appearance before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) on Nov. 3, he relayed information about possible links between billionaire activist George Soros and Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier.

Waldman said he received the information in a March 16 meeting he had with Daniel J. Jones, a consultant and former staffer to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Waldman told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Jones asserted that he was working with Fusion GPS and that the research firm was being funded by a “group of Silicon Valley billionaires and George Soros.” Jones also described Fusion as a “shadow media organization helping the government.”

“He was there as Fusion GPS. He brought up Fusion GPS,” Waldman told TheDCNF of his interaction with Jones.

“It was very, very clear.”

Waldman, 49, also said that Jones mentioned Glenn Simpson, one of Fusion’s co-founders and Steele’s main partner on the dossier project.

Waldman’s testimony about the meeting was first revealed in a Daily Caller op-ed published last week by Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who is a client of Waldman’s.

In the op-ed, Deripaska, a former business partner of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s, largely criticized the so-called “Deep State,” which he alleges has pushed a false narrative about the Russia investigation. But the piece also broke news about his lawyer’s Senate testimony and the claims about Fusion GPS and Soros funding.

Jones, Fusion GPS, and a representative for Soros did not return repeated requests for comment. A spokesperson for the Senate panel declined to discuss Waldman’s testimony.

Reached by phone, Fusion GPS attorney Josh Levy declined to comment on Waldman’s testimony about Jones and Soros connections to the firm, saying “I’m not commenting for your story.”

Waldman’s link to key players in the Russia investigation is one of the more intriguing wrinkles in the dossier saga. On one side is Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin. On the other are Steele, Jones and Warner, all of who are involved in one way or another in investigating the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election.
How the two sides found a common link in Waldman remains a mystery, one that lawyer said he is presently unable to discuss in full.

Waldman, who runs Endeavor Law Firm and also represents actor Johnny Depp, entered the national spotlight last month after text messages that he exchanged last year with Warner were leaked to Fox News. The messages, which Waldman provided to SSCI in September, showed that he negotiated with Warner on behalf of the London-based Steele to set up an interview with the committee.
Warner sought the meeting in his capacity as the top Democrat on Senate Intel.

Steele, as is now widely known, was hired by Fusion GPS in June 2016 to investigate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee paid Fusion for the project.

Waldman’s texts to Warner mention Steele, Deripaska, and Jones, who was an SSCI staffer for Feinstein when she chaired the panel.

Encrypted text messages provided to SSCI and obtained by TheDCNF corroborate some of Waldman’s claims, particularly regarding his meeting with Jones and a suggestion from him that he helped with anti-Trump news stories.

A March 15 message shows Jones contacted Waldman and introduced himself as being with an upstart non-profit group called the Democracy Integrity Project.
“Dan Jones here from the Democracy Integrity Project. Chris wanted us to connect,” reads the intro message, referring to Steele and to a newly formed non-profit group of which little is known.

Corporate registration documents show that a group by that name was formed in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 31, 2017, several weeks before Jones’ outreach to Waldman and several weeks after BuzzFeed News published the dossier.

Waldman’s contact with Warner began in February 2017 and initially centered on Deripaska and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Waldman suggested in his initial texts that he was in communication with Assange, who is living under asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The lawyer first mentioned Steele to Warner on March 17, a day after he met with Jones, who now runs a consulting firm called the Penn Quarter Group.

“Chris Steele asked me to call you,” Waldman wrote to Warner.

The text messages show that Warner, a Democrat, sought to meet with Steele separately from other members of the Senate committee. But Waldman said that Steele first wanted a letter signed by Warner and North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the committee, formally seeking an interview with Steele.

Warner rebuffed the idea and pressed for a private meeting with Steele, going as far as offering to travel to England.

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