President Trump accused the late Sen. John McCain on Sunday of working with the Democrats during the 2016 presidential election by giving the Christopher Steele dossier to the FBI and media, in the hope that it would be printed and help defeat Mr. Trump.
But according to several reports, McCain didn’t hand over the dossier to the FBI until after the 2016 election in December. It was circulated to the media through one of McCain’s aides, David Kramer, after the election.
Mr. Trump has continuously denied that the information detailed in the unverified and salacious dossier is accurate.
It had been compiled by former Mr. Steele, a British ex-spy who had been paid to collect the information on Mr. Trump by GOP primary rivals and then by Democrats, according to former FBI Director James Comey.
“Report: Christopher Steele backed up his Democrat & Crooked Hillary paid for Fake & Unverified Dossier with information he got from ‘send in watchers’ of low ratings CNN. This is the info that got us the Witch Hunt!” Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday.
“So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) ‘last in his class’ (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election. He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!” he added.
The tweets come after the recent release of a deposition in which Mr. Steele admitted to, among other things, using unreliable posts from citizen journalists through a public website hosted by CNN in order to support the claims in his dossier.
The president also took a swipe Saturday against McCain, citing former special counsel Ken Starr who called the dossier a “dark stain” on the late Arizona senator in a television interview, and going on to other political disagreements with the Arizona Republican and 2008 presidential nominee.
“Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier ‘is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain.’ Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel. He had far worse ‘stains’ than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace [on Obamacare] after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!” Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday.
The move prompted McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain to respond.
“No one will ever love you the way they loved my father … I wish I had been given more Saturday’s with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter obsessing over mine?” she tweeted.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate, also defended the late senator.
“This is just another outrageous action by the president. John McCain was a war hero,” she told CNN, adding that turning over the dossier to the FBI was the right thing to do.
Mr. Trump and McCain sparred for several years up until the lawmaker’s death last year. The McCain family did not invite Mr. Trump to the funeral.
During the 2016 GOP presidential primaries, Mr. Trump suggested McCain wasn’t a war hero because he got caught. McCain spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, although now an ally to Mr. Trump, tweeted praise for his former colleague and closest Senate friend.
“As to @SenJohnMcCain and his devotion to his country: He stepped forward to risk his life for his country, served honorably under difficult circumstances, and was one of the most consequential senators in the history of the body,” Mr. Graham said.
“Nothing about his service will ever be changed or diminished,” he added.