The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the man who is leading the multiple times disproven allegations of Trump/Russia collusion, has been exposed as having pretty deep ties to the Russians, himself. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) tried to organize a secret private meeting with Christopher Steele the author of the Clinton-funded, invalidated, anti-Trump dossier; he used the lobbyist of a Russian oligarch to organize the secret meeting.
According to an exclusive story just published on Fox News, the acne-scarred congressman was aware of the questionable nature of his politically-motivated contact with the lobbyist and repeatedly urged for “secrecy.”
To guarantee some of this secrecy, Sen Warner was communicating with the Russian Oligarch’s Lobbyist through the encrypted messaging app, Signal. Werner had his messages on Signal set to disappear after a designated amount of time as evidenced by the hourglass icon at the top right of the screenshots below.
“Secret” communications such as this between elected American officials and foreign lobbyists have major legal ramifications, especially considering that the use of the Signal app seems well thought out – Sen. Warner did not want these messages to be seen by the public.
Full story via Fox News:
Throughout the text exchanges, Warner seemed particularly intent on connecting directly with Steele without anyone else on the Senate Intelligence Committee being in the loop — at least initially. In one text to the lobbyist, Warner wrote that he would “rather not have a paper trail” of his messages.
An aide to Warner confirmed to Fox News that the text messages are authentic. The messages, which were obtained from a Republican source, are all marked “CONFIDENTIAL” and are not classified. They were turned over to the Senate panel by Waldman last September.
Waldman, who did not return calls seeking comments, runs the Endeavor Group in Washington.
Waldman is best known for signing a $40,000 monthly retainer in 2009 and 2010 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of controversial Russian billionaire Oleg V. Deripaska. Deripraska had his visa revoked by the State Department in 2006 because of charges, which he has denied, that he has organized crime ties.
An aide to Burr, the Republican chairman, told Fox News that Burr was aware of the “contact” Warner made with Steele’s representative but added, “I don’t believe he was aware of the content of the text messages” initially. […]
The two men appear to have finally connected about Steele by phone on March 22, according to the records.
“Hey just tried u again gotta give a speech but really want to finish our talk,” Warner texted.
Waldman, at one point, texted back that Steele really wanted a bi-partisan letter requesting his testimony first. He added that Steele was concerned about word leaking to the media that they were talking.
In one text, Warner suggested he did not want Burr or any other senator included in the discussions: “Ok but I wud (sic) like to do prelim call u me and him no one else before letter just so we have to trail to start want to discuss scope first before letter no leaks.”
Waldman noted repeatedly that Steele was concerned about leaks and was “spooked” by all of the attention he had received around the world. Steele, he said, was skittish about talking to Warner.
Warner texted back on March 30: “We want to do this right private in London don’t want to send letter yet cuz if we can’t get agreement wud rather not have paper trail.”
On April 5, Warner texted, “Any word on Steele.”
“Yes seems to have cold feet from the leaks. Said he wanted a bipartisan letter followed by written questions,” texted Waldman, adding that the Wall Street Journal had contacted him asking if he was an intermediary between the panel and Steele.
In the text messages, Warner also discussed the possibility of a trip to see Steele.