Chuck Ross on February 7, 2018
Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton insider, was peddling dirt on President Donald Trump as early as Aug. 2016, two months earlier than previously known, a U.S. government source tells The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The official also said they originally discounted the information when they first heard of it because of Shearer’s reputation as a Clinton hatchet man.
Shearer, a former journalist, was “not a guy with a whole lot of credibility,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of investigations into the various Trump-Russia investigations.
The House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary Committees are investigating the so-called “Shearer memo” and how it made its way from the Clinton operative, through the State Department, and into the hands of Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous dossier.
Steele passed some of Shearer’s information to the FBI in Oct. 2016, The Guardian first reported Jan. 30.
Shearer’s involvement in digging up Trump dirt is one of the stranger twists in the saga of the Russia investigation, one that involves a recently retired State Department official named Jonathan Winer.
During the presidential campaign, Winer, who served at the time as special envoy to Libya, obtained information from Steele in summer 2016. He passed it along to then-Sec. of State John Kerry in the form of a two-page memo.
The Atlantic and The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Shearer’s information made its way to Steele through at least two intermediaries.
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Shearer obtained information from an unidentified foreign source who then provided the information to his longtime friend and fellow Clinton crony, Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal then provided the information to Winer, his friend.
Steele provided the FBI with a handwritten memo based upon information from Shearer, according to The Atlantic. The note also reportedly referenced Shearer’s association with Blumenthal and disclosed that the information was unverified.
The Shearer memo and the Steele dossier contain some of the same unverified allegations.
The core allegation in the Shearer memo was that Russia’s spy agency, the FSB, had video footage of Trump engaging with prostitutes during a 2013 trip to Moscow.
The first memo in Steele’s dossier, dated June 20, 2016, makes a similar allegation. Steele’s sources claimed that the FSB had recordings of Trump with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room, and that the footage was being used as “kompromot.”
It remains unclear whether Shearer and Steele obtained their information from the same source. Trump has criticized the entire Steele dossier as a “hoax” and has denied the specific allegation about Moscow prostitutes.
Shearer and Steele share common friends, however, their reputations as gatherers of information are quite different. Despite questions about his dossier, Steele is considered a well-respected investigator, largely due to his work as a spy in Russia. After leaving government, Steele founded a private intelligence company in London called Orbis Business Intelligence, where he has worked with the FBI and State Department.
Steele began working in 2010 with Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that was hired by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee to investigate Trump.
Shearer is another story. He first gained notoriety in 1991 after he peddled the false allegation that then-Vice President Dan Quayle bought drugs from political activist Brett Kimberlin.
Shearer was also reportedly investigated in the late-1990s by the State Department’s inspector general because he misrepresented himself as a government official during negotiations with associates of a Bosnian warlord. Shearer, whose brother-in-law is Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott, was reportedly paid at least $25,000 in exchange for helping the warlord.
TheDCNF received independent confirmation that Shearer was peddling dirt on Trump in summer 2016. One source told TheDCNF about Shearer’s involvement in Trump dirt digging in 2017, just after BuzzFeed News published the Steele dossier.
“I have had absolutely nothing to do with the release of materials contained in the Russian dossier, nor have I pushed these documents to reporters,” Shearer said at the time, well before his involvement in a separate Trump dossier was publicized.
The government official said that they initially heard from a journalist that Shearer was shopping around information on Trump. The source, who heard similar information from at least two other people, said that Shearer’s involvement suggested that Clintonworld was doing its “best to get this into the mainstream media before the election.”
If the Clinton campaign and Clinton-affiliated operatives were trying to push the salacious Trump claims into the mainstream media, that had little success until just prior to the election. Mother Jones published on Oct. 31, 2016, the first report that quoted Steele — albeit anonymously — and reported the sex allegations about Trump.
Shearer did not respond to voicemails and emails seeking comment for this story.
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