Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) may have some explaining to do. According to a just published Fox News exclusive, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is alleged to have texted the lobbyist for a Russian oligarch, as an attempt to locate and contact dossier-creator Christopher Steele.
The text message exchange, obtained by Fox News, appears to show the Democratic senator and said lobbyist, Adam Waldman, connecting on March 22, 2017.
“We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country,” Warner allegedly texted Waldman on March 22, 2017.
“I’m in,” Waldman allegedly replied.
The text conversation allegedly turned toward Steele.
“Can you talk tomorrow want to get with ur English friend,” Warner texted.
“I spoke to him yesterday,” Waldman replied.
Fox News also alleges that Warner wrote to Waldman, saying that he would “rather not have a paper trail,” referring to the above exchange.
Waldman is the founder, chairman, and president of the Endeavor Group, a D.C. consultancy firm based about two blocks from the White House. According DOJ paperwork filed in 2009, Waldman stated he would be working with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to provide “legal advice on issues involving his U.S. visa as well as commercial transactions.”
One of Warner’s aides has confirmed to Fox News that the texts are authentic. As a matter of fact, these messages are not classified and were turned over to the Senate panel by Waldman last September.
Waldman’s company has also worked with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, among others. An absolute connection between the oligarch-in-question and Warner has not been made, other than Waldman’s participation in the text message exchange.
The Fox News article goes on to point out that Waldman has “ties to Hillary Clinton,” but we couldn’t find a verifiable connection between Endeavor and the failed presidential candidate.
UPDATE 8:42 p.m. EST
Fellow member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Marco Rubio, has called out the report, coming to the aid of Warner.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 9, 2018
UPDATE 8:52 p.m. EST
Fox News, the television channel, has begun promoting this story, but Daily Beast editor Ben Collins noticed that Julian Assange tried to pitch similar information to a fake Sean Hannity.
Fox News is promoting now "leaked texts" from Mark Warner.
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) February 9, 2018
Fox News’ Ed Henry, who wrote the original story, responded to the Daily Beast story on his reporting:
“The story I broke tonight on Fox News had absolutely nothing to do with WikiLeaks—I’ve never even spoken to Julian Assange or his operatives for that matter. I also never spoke to Sean Hannity about this story at any point in the reporting process,” said Henry.
“I contacted Senator Warner’s office several times to verify that the texts were authentic and they confirmed that fact this afternoon. In fact, Warner’s office never mentioned Assange in the multiple calls and emails I had with them to get their side of the story.”
[image via screenshot]
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