A London-based lawyer for Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska is refusing to answer questions about whether he and his client have links to Christopher Steele, the author of the Democrat-funded dossier.
Paul Hauser, a lawyer at the Bryan Cave firm, responded Feb. 14 to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley’s letter inquiring about any possible relationship between Deripaska and Steele.
Hauser responded to Grassley’s letter by acknowledging he represents Deripaska. But on the question of whether he or Deripaska have a relationship with Steele, Hauser cited various privileges to avoid answering.
“The attorney/client privilege, work product doctrine, and rules of professional responsibility prevent me from commenting on client work,” he wrote in response to questions about his or Deripaska’s work with Steele.
Any link between Deripaska and Steele would mark one of the stranger twists in the dossier saga.
Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, is considered one of Vladimir Putin’s closest non-government advisers. Steele is unwelcome in Russia because of his work as an MI6 officer in Moscow. His dossier, which Democrats funded, alleges the Russian government coordinated with the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election.
The implication of Grassley’s inquiry to Hauser is Deripaska was a source for Steele’s dossier, which BuzzFeed published in Jan. 2017.
Hauser did not comment on that possibility, but he denied his law firm or Deripaska were involved in commissioning or paying for the dossier.
“However, I can confirm that neither my firm nor I was involved in the commissioning of, preparation of or payment for the so-called ‘Steele Dossier.’ I am not aware of any involvement by Mr. Deripaska in the commissioned, preparing or paying for that document,” he wrote.
Hauser is not the only attorney who may be linked to both Deripaska and Steele. Washington-based Endeavor Law Firm founder Adam Waldman represents Deripaska and has apparent links to Steele.
Text messages leaked to Fox News last month show Waldman served as a back channel in 2017 between Steele and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The texts showed Waldman attempted to arrange a meeting between Steele and the Senate committee.
Waldman testified before the Senate panel in November 2017, he recently confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation. But he declined to discuss his relationship with Steele.
[h/t The Federalist]
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