Reports: U.S. Sen. John McCain gave FBI explosive dossier on President-elect Donald Trump

Dan Nowicki , The Republic | azcentral.com

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (center) and committee members Sens. James Inhofe and Jack Reed prepare for their Jan. 5, 2017, hearing.(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. John McCain delivered an explosive dossier detailing potentially compromising but unproven allegations about President-elect Donald Trump and his Russian connections, CNN and the Guardian reported Tuesday.

A summary of the derogatory information was included in a classified intelligence briefing given to Trump on Friday.

McCain, R-Ariz., released a statement early Wednesday confirming that he had passed along “sensitive information” to the FBI, but the statement did not provide any details about the information McCain passed along.

Upon learning about the memos, McCain reportedly “dispatched an emissary overseas to meet the source” and subsequently gave the file to FBI Director James Comey in a Dec. 9 meeting, according to the Guardian’s account.

A few days later, on Dec. 13, McCain told The Arizona Republic that he was making cyberwarfare and cybersecurity a “top priority” of his new Senate term and intended to hold a hearing on Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. That hearing happened last week.

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U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and released private email correspondence as part of an effort to undermine Clinton and help elect Trump.

McCain, the chairman of the influential Senate Armed Services Committee and the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, has had an international profile for years. The source was described by CNN as “a former British diplomat who had been posted in Moscow.”

“McCain was reluctant to get involved, according to a colleague, for fear the issue would be dismissed as a personal grudge against Trump,” the Guardian reported.

McCain released a written statement early Wednesday confirming part of the Guardian report.

“Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public. 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,” McCain wrote.

McCain and Trump engaged in an on-again, off-again public feud in 2015 and 2016.

CNN presented a similar account of McCain’s involvement, but said the FBI already had the memos, which were drafted between June and August. McCain’s cache apparently contained memos through December.

The website BuzzFeed published the memos on Tuesday, noting that “the allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.”

CNN said the memos started out as anti-Trump opposition research during the 2016 presidential primary.

Trump denounced the story with an angry tweet: “FAKE NEWS — A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

This article was originally published on azcentral.com at 9:29 p.m. MT Jan. 10, 2017.

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