News & Politics

Lawyer for Steele and Deripaska May Have Lied to Sen. Grassley About Being Out of the Country

Barbara Sturm and Adam Waldman. (Photo by: Jörg Carstensen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Washington lobbyist and lawyer Adam Waldman appears to have lied to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley about his whereabouts in order to avoid testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Waldman represents Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and former British spy Christopher Steele, who were both heavily involved with the Democrat-funded salacious and unverified anti-Trump dossier, which was the basis of the FBI investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump.

Steele also worked with DOJ official Bruce Ohr to help Deripaska obtain a U.S. visa in 2016 during the same time period he was compiling the anti-Trump dossier. Deripaska had his visa revoked by the State Department in 2006 purportedly due to concerns about his links to organized crime.

The investigators have found that Ohr, who was the fourth-highest ranking official in the DOJ at the time, acted as an intermediary between Steele (after he was terminated as a source) and the FBI as it investigated Steele’s allegations about the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia.

In January 2018, Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Graham (R-S.C.) referred Steele to the DOJ for criminal investigation.

Grassley has been trying to get Waldman to come before his committee for a transcribed interview regarding his contacts with Deripaska, Steele and the FBI since last February. Two weeks ago, Grassley sent Waldman a letter giving him a deadline of August 17 to schedule an interview.

Waldman’s attorney, Rodney Page, responded to Grassley’s request on August 17, telling him his client was “out of the country and not expected to return for several weeks.”

However, internet sleuth @almostjingo (Rosie Memos) did some digging and made an interesting discovery. Waldman’s wife, Barbara Sturm, posted an Instagram picture today of the two of them dining with friends in New York on August 22. That’s only five days after his lawyer said he would be out of town for the next several weeks.

New York, as cosmopolitan as it is, is still considered part of the USA.

Throughout the spring of 2017, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, communicated through phone calls and text messages with Waldman in order to gain access to Steele, the author of the dirty dossier.

Warner texted back and forth with Waldman, who runs The Endeavor Group — which has ties to (surprise!) Hillary Clinton — while he and his Republican colleague, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, were leading the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

In one text to the lobbyist, the senator expressed a desire to “not have a paper trail” of his messages. He suggested in another text that he did not want Burr or any other senator included in the discussions.

In May 2018, Waldman told The Hill’s John Solomon that the FBI contacted Deripaska for help in their Trump-Russia investigation in September 2016.

Two months before Trump was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.

“Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” the lawyer said. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.” The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me. Waldman declined to say if Deripaska has been in contact with the FBI since Sept, 2016.

Solomon also raised concerns regarding a possible conflict of interest in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia collusion probe involving Deripaska. According to his sources, the Bureau in 2009 asked the oligarch to spend millions of his own dollars to fund an FBI-supervised operation to rescue retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who was captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007. Solomon’s sources included more than a dozen participants inside and outside the FBI, the Levinson family, a retired agent who supervised the case, Deripaska’s lawyer (Waldman), and Deripaska himself.

In addition to Deripaska and Steele, Waldman has also represented actor Johnny Depp and Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange, whom he visited at the Ecuadorian embassy in London nine times last year.