Christopher Steele told a longtime aide to John McCain in 2016 that he believed Michael Flynn was having an extramarital affair with a Russian woman, showing for the first time that the former British spy peddled an unsubstantiated rumor that later appeared in the media and made its way to the FBI.
Steele shared the allegation with David Kramer, a longtime associate of McCain’s, according to a transcript of Kramer’s House Intelligence Committee testimony released on Thursday.
Kramer met with Steele in London in November 2016 at McCain’s direction to discuss Steele’s work on the Trump dossier. Kramer later gave the salacious document to a reporter from BuzzFeed News.
Kramer told House investigators in his Dec. 19, 2017 interview that Steele shared one allegation with him regarding Flynn that was not included in the dossier.
“There was one thing he mentioned to me that is not included here, and that is he believed that Mr. Flynn had an extramarital affair with a Russian woman in the U.K.,” Kramer testified.
Kramer revisited the rumor later in the testimony. He said that Flynn’s alleged mistress was “a Russian woman” who “may have been a dual citizen.”
The allegation centers around a visit that Flynn made on Feb. 28, 2014 to the University of Cambridge. Flynn, who then served as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), attended a dinner hosted by Sir Richard Dearlove, the former chief of MI6 and Christopher Andrew, a Cambridge historian and mentor to Lokhova.
Lokhova attended the dinner along with other graduate students.
There was no mention of the dinner in the media until nearly three years after it took place, shortly after Flynn was fired as national security adviser.
In March 2017, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian reported that U.S. and British intelligence were notified about contacts between Flynn and Lokhova at the Cambridge event. The stories implied that the pair had some sort of improper contact and that Flynn had failed to report it to DIA.
Those reports spawned speculation that Lokhova was a Russian spy who tried to cozy up to Flynn.
Lokhova has said she spoke with Flynn at the Cambridge event after being asked to do so by Andrew, her mentor. But she has vehemently denied having any improper contact with Flynn, either at the dinner or after. She has told The Daily Caller News Foundation that she left the event with her husband, David North. North has told the DCNF the same.
A DIA official who was with Flynn at the Cambridge event told The Wall Street Journal in March 2017 that he did not witness any improper activity on Flynn’s part.
The mysterious allegation about Flynn and Lokhova was revived last week with the release of an FBI memo related to the bureau’s counterintelligence investigation of Flynn.
The memo said that an FBI confidential human source (CHS) provided information to the bureau regarding Flynn’s interactions at Cambridge with Lokhova.
The memo said that an “established” CHS provided information to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team regarding an “incident” the source claimed to have witnessed involving Flynn’s trip to Cambridge.
The CHS said that they saw someone get into Flynn’s cab following the event. The source also said that they were “somewhat suspicious” of the person who allegedly hopped into Flynn’s cab, and believed that the individual’s father was a Russian oligarch.
The memo has the identity of Flynn’s alleged companion redacted, but Lokhova says that she is the person discussed in the memo, citing rumors that circulated in the press and at Cambridge for years.
The Kramer testimony reveals publicly for the first time that Steele was aware of Lokhova and shared information about her with his associates. One source familiar with Steele’s activities previously told the DCNF that the former spy knew of Lokhova. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of issues involving Steele.
The identity of the FBI source who provided information on Flynn and Lokhova has not been revealed.
Lokhova has long suspected that Stefan Halper, a colleague of Dearlove and Andrew’s at Cambridge, was involved in sowing the stories about her and Flynn. Halper has been identified as a longtime confidential human source for the FBI who was used to go after Trump campaign aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
Halper has been an FBI source since 2008, according to a Justice Department inspector general’s report. The FBI approached him in August 2016 to ask if he would be interested in meeting with Page and Papadopoulos. He met with both and secretly recorded them. The IG report says that Halper told the FBI he was previously acquainted with Flynn.
Steele had been an FBI source since 2013. He met several times with his FBI contacts through 2016 to share information from his dossier.
Neither Steele nor Halper are believed to have attended the Cambridge event for Flynn.
Dearlove, the former MI6 chief, has not been identified as an FBI source. But he and Steele reportedly met through 2016 to discuss Steele’s investigation of Donald Trump. The co-founders of Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele to investigate Trump, reported in their recent book, “Crime in Progress,” that Steele met Dearlove in December 2016.
Kramer said in his House interview that Steele indicated to him that he had shared information from his Trump investigation with his former MI6 colleagues in “an ongoing basis.”
“My sense is that he maintains relations with people where he used to work, and that it was on an ongoing basis,” Kramer testified.
Flynn’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, did not respond to requests for comment about his involvement in the Lokhova-Flynn rumor.