- Arizona senator who disowned Trump before election admits he handed document outlining claims of Kremlin blackmail to FBI
- He was simply a concerned citizen, 80-year-old Republican claimed
- Brief statement claims that he received it and gave it directly to FBI Director James Comey because he was ‘unable to make judgment about accuracy’
- But Washington reporter Carl Bernstein says former British ambassador to Moscow handed it to McCain
- Ambassador has not been named – and author of report also gave to FBI agent he knew at its station in Rome months ago
- Report was apparently paid for first BY Republican enemies of Trump then by Democrats
Sworn Donald Trump enemy John McCain admitted Wednesday that he passed the dossier of claims of a Russian blackmail plot against the president-elect – calling it ‘what any citizen should do’.
McCain – a longstanding anti-Trump Republican who had disassociated himself from the candidate’s campaign weeks before the election – cast himself as an innocent and concerned member of the public as he justified his move.
He claimed he had no idea whether it was accurate or not – but that he believed the FBI should have it because it was ‘sensitive’.
‘I did what any citizen should do. I received sensitive information and handed it to the FBI,’ he told CNN – the network which broke the story that the document existed. It was then published in full by Buzzfeed.
He added: ‘It doesn’t trouble me because I don’t know if it is accurate or not. I have no way of corroborating that.
‘The individual gave me the information. I looked at it. After receiving that information I took it to the FBI.’
The Arizona senator had issued a public statement amid mounting questions of his exact role in the affair – and how a document riddled with errors and unverifiable claims came to be published.
‘Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public,’ he said.
‘Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI.
‘That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.’
But the 2008 Republican loser, who disowned his party’s candidate weeks before the election, may have been far more intimately involved than that.
The chain of how the document reached the FBI is not officially known.
However Carl Bernstein, the Watergate reporter who contributed to the first story about its existence, published by CNN on Tuesday afternoon, suggested that McCain was handed it by a former British ambassador to Moscow.
Bernstein told CNN: ‘It came from a former British MI6 agent who was hired from a political opposition research firm in Washington who was doing work about Donald Trump for both republican and democratic candidates opposed to Trump.
The identity of the former British ambassador has not been disclosed.
The new information, which has not been independently verified, claims that Russian officials also gathered highly damaging information on Trump, but only released the details attacking Clinton through the WikiLeaks website.