A release last week of texts showed that Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose memos regarding the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia are referred to as the Steele dossier, reached out to Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, through a Russian-linked Washington, D.C., lobbyist named Adam Waldman. Among Waldman’s clients is Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a text dated March 16, 2017, Waldman texted Warner, “Chris Steele asked me to call you.”
In 2009, Waldman filed papers with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) registering himself as an agent for Deripaska in order to provide “legal advice on issues involving his U.S. visa as well as commercial transactions” at a retainer of $40,000 a month. In 2010, Waldman additionally registered as an agent for Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, “gathering information and providing advice and analysis as it relates to the U.S. policy towards the visa status of Oleg Deripaska,” including meetings with U.S. policymakers. Based on the information in his FARA filings, Waldman has received at least $2.36 million for his work with Deripaska.
A letter dated Feb. 9 sent by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley to a London-based lawyer may shed light on why Steele used Waldman as an intermediary.