Sen. Mark Warner had “extensive contact last year” with lobbyist Adam Waldman in an effort to set up a meeting with Christopher Steele, who wrote a phony dossier on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, Fox News reported.
The Virginia senator, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, had frequent contacts with Waldman, who runs the Endeavor Group, a Washington lobbying firm that worked with a Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska in 2009 and 2010.
"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.
Steele famously put together the anti-Trump dossier of unverified information that was used by FBI and Justice Department officials in October 2016 to get a warrant to conduct surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page. Despite the efforts, Steele has not agreed to an interview with the committee.
President Trump on Friday weighed in on the report.
Fox said secrecy "seemed very important to Warner as the conversation with Waldman heated up on March 29, 2017, when the lobbyist revealed that Steele wanted a bipartisan letter from Warner and the committee’s chairman, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, inviting him to talk to the Senate intelligence panel.
"Throughout the text exchanges, Warner seemed particularly intent on connecting directly with Steele without anyone else on the Senate Intelligence Committee being in the loop -- at least initially. In one text to the lobbyist, Warner wrote that he would 'rather not have a paper trail' of his messages."
But the report might be just another red herring (like two erroneous reports in the last two weeks). Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican member of the committee, tweeted Thursday night that Warner "fully disclosed this to the committee four months ago." He added that the disclosure "has had zero impact on our work."