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Report: FBI is using a second Trump-Russia dossier, which also has Clinton ties that raise questions

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Russia. The Guardian reported Tuesday that the FBI is currently using a second dossier on President Donald Trump's connections to Russia. The author of the dossier, Cody Shearer, has longtime ties to the Clinton family. (Mikhail Metzel/AFP/GettyImages)

On Tuesday, The Guardian reported it has sources who claim the FBI is using a dossier crafted by Clinton-linked researcher Cody Shearer as part of its investigation into whether Trump colluded with Russians during the 2016 election.

The report comes just one day after the House Intelligence Committee voted to release to the public a controversial memo reportedly detailing alleged missteps and bias in the Department of Justice and FBI’s investigations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Among the criticisms expected in the House report, which will be released only with the White House’s approval, is that the FBI may have relied on a largely unverified and salacious dossier written by Christopher Steele. Steele is a former British spy who reportedly was paid by a political consulting firm, Fusion GPS, that was hired by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign to conduct opposition research on then-candidate Trump.

According to The Guardian report, the Shearer dossier “independently set out many of the same allegations” contained in the Steele dossier. The Guardian claims it was “told the FBI investigation is still assessing details in the ‘Shearer memo’ and is pursuing intriguing leads.”

“One source with knowledge of the inquiry said the fact the FBI was still working on [the Shearer memo] suggested investigators had taken an aspect of it seriously,” The Guardian added.

Who is Cody Shearer?

If The Guardian report is true, the FBI’s use of anything authored by Shearer is likely to draw significant criticism from Republicans and many conservatives. Shearer is not only a left-wing partisan with a deep allegiance to the Clintons, his political opponents also say he has a history of engaging in deception and other troubling activities.

In 2015, Brendan Bordelon, writing for National Review, authored a detailed article devoted to Shearer’s past and ties to the Clintons. According to Bordelon, Shearer was first connected to the Clintons through his brother-in-law, Strobe Talbott. Talbott worked as a deputy secretary in the State Department but had originally met Bill Clinton back when the two were at Oxford. Bordelon reported that Shearer worked “with Clinton enforcer Terry Lenzner to investigate and, at times, intimidate women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment.”

That’s not the most disturbing part of Shearer’s story, however, Bordelon wrote:

But Shearer’s political intrigues in the ’90s extended beyond U.S. shores. In the middle of the decade, for reasons that remain unclear, he traveled to Europe to negotiate with associates of Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian-Serb president known to have orchestrated the mass killings of Bosnian Muslims — including the Srebrenica genocide — during the brutal Yugoslav Wars. Representing himself as an agent of the State Department, Shearer told his Serbian contacts, which included members of Karadzic’s family, that he could reduce the severity of impending war-crimes charges if Karadzic surrendered. He claimed he was in contact not only with his brother-in-law, but also with then-secretary of state Madeleine Albright and even with President Clinton himself.

“He said, ‘If you can show to my friends, meaning his brother-in-law and the president, that you can offer a serious line of negotiation, military action to capture Karadzic would not happen,’” the Serbian associate said, according to a 1999 Wall Street Journal article. A subsequent State Department investigation found that the Serbs paid Shearer at least $25,000 for his efforts, though the Serbs themselves claim he was paid much more.

Although Shearer’s negotiations on behalf of the U.S. government were unauthorized, the Wall Street Journal reported that Strobe Talbott knew of his brother-in-law’s activities at least one year before the State Department did and asked him to stop. He only felt compelled to do so, according to the Journal, because Shearer was erroneously informing his Serbian contacts that the U.S. supported a plan to partition Bosnia, not because he was conducting shadow diplomacy with a genocidal warlord.

Shearer would later help Hillary Clinton’s close ally Sidney Blumenthal conduct “intelligence gathering” for reports Blumenthal sent to Clinton in 2011 about the Libyan revolution, according to Bordelon.

Cody Shearer’s brother, Derek Shearer, is the former U.S. ambassador to Finland, a position he was given by the Clinton administration in the 1990s after putting pressure on the Clintons to repay him for the “political debt” they owed him for his years of gathering damaging background information about Clinton rivals, including California Gov. Jerry Brown — who had previously run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination against Bill Clinton — Ross Perot and Gennifer Flowers, according to a 2016 report by the Washington Free Beacon. Flowers had accused Bill Clinton of having an affair with her during Clinton’s 1992 run for president.

The Free Beacon also reports records show Cody Shearer had worked with Blumenthal and Derek Shearer on many of these smear campaigns.

This writer's perspective

By all accounts, Cody Shearer is a partisan Clinton attack dog, not a legitimate researcher with a history of unbiased information-gathering.

If the FBI is using a dossier written by Shearer to help confirm allegations made in Steele’s dossier, it serves as further proof the agency is engaging, at best, in extremely questionable practices, and, at worst, that some in FBI are hell-bent on destroying the Trump presidency using almost any evidence they can find — regardless of how biased the sources are.

Rather than serve as proof of the Steele dossier’s authenticity, a claim some on the left are sure to make, the news the FBI may be relying in part on the Shearer dossier to conduct its investigation of Trump will only continue to erode the public’s trust in the FBI and Department of Justice.

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