Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and committee Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. confer on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, during the committee’s confirmation hearing for CIA Director-designate Rep. Michael Pompeo, R-Kan. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

 

File this under collusion-for-me-but-not-for-thee.

FoxNews is reporting on a previously undisclosed text conversation that Democrat Senator Mark Warner had with a registered lobbyist for the Russian Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who has been leading a congressional investigation into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, had extensive contact last year with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch who was offering Warner access to former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele, according to text messages obtained exclusively by Fox News.

“We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country,” Warner texted the lobbyist, Adam Waldman, on March 22, 2017.

“I’m in,” Waldman, whose firm has ties to Hillary Clinton, texted back to Warner.

This is the setup. Waldman texts Warner as says Chris Steele wants him to contact Warner. We’re all assuming that Chris Steele is the author of the Trump dossier though I’m sure there will be people who claim he’s actually the barista at the Capitol Hill Starbucks.

The first question that comes to mind is why the guy who relied heavily on Russian intermediaries to talk to sources in the Russian government is using Sergei Lavrov’s catchfart to get in contact with Mark Warner? It isn’t like Steele is without contacts in the U.S. Government. Why not go back to Fusion GPS which was joined at the hip with the Democrat party?

The irony of a senator talking to a lobbyist for Russia about how they can “help our country”

This is interesting.

The “Deripaska” mentioned is Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska who is forbidden to enter the United States because of purported links to Russian organized crime. And Waldman had been specifically charged by the Russian Foreign Ministry with fixing Deripaska’s problem. The request letter from Lavrov is the last image in this tweet.

Then the negotiations to talk to Steele (complete text conversation):

One can only speculate as to who Waldman’s DOJ contact was, but if he isn’t part of Mueller’s current investigatory team then Bruce Ohr would be a great guess.

Richard Burr says there is nothing to see here…but Burr hasn’t seen much of anything in this investigation. Marco Rubio offers a surprisingly limp defense:

Cool. I understand collegiality…or at least used to…but four months ago was November. The text messages date from March. And the text messages were provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee by Waldman, not by Warner.

Apparently, the meeting could not take place. Steele wouldn’t back down on his demand that he be given a bipartisan letter requesting his presence and Warner didn’t want a paper trail…which seems like a damned strange way to run an investigation. We don’t know if Warner met with Deripaska or not. But none of this gives one a warm fuzzy feeling. To me, the biggest question is why Sergei Lavrov’s hired gun was trusted by Steele whose dossier on Trump, according to Fusion GPS honcho Glenn Simpson, got people killed.

To be clear, no misconduct is being alleged here, but an honest person would ask themselves how’d they react if that was a text message between Donald Trump, Jr., and some fixer paid for by Sergei Lavrov in which he sought a meeting with someone and didn’t want a paper trail.

And let’s end this with the obligatory #HotTake by President Trump