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McCain associate takes Fifth on Trump dossier questions

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A former State Department official and associate of Sen. John McCain has invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in connection with questions from the House Intelligence Committee about the anti-Trump dossier’s Russian sources, according to a law enforcement source.

David J. Kramer, who is a central player in how the unverified Trump dossier made its way to the FBI in late 2016, testified before the committee in December in a closed-door session, indicating he had information about the dossier’s sources. A subpoena was issued for mid-January, as first reported by The Washington Examiner

The law enforcement source confirmed, however, that Kramer did not appear and has exercised his Fifth Amendment rights. 

Yet Kramer gave a videotaped deposition last December in separate civil litigation against BuzzFeed about the dossier and his contact with the former British spy who compiled it, Christopher Steele. Steele was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to write and research the dossier, with funding from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. 

According to British court records obtained by Fox News as part of its ongoing investigation of the Trump dossier, Kramer was personally briefed in late November 2016 by Steele in Surrey, England. After that briefing, Steele told the British court that an arrangement was made so that Fusion GPS — co-founded by Glenn Simpson – would provide hard copies of the dossier to McCain via Kramer. Shortly afterward, the dossier was given to the FBI, which already had its own copy from Steele.

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Kramer greets Sen. John McCain at the Halifax International Security Forum.

 (Halifax International Security Forum)

Steele has refused to testify before Congress. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department asking them to investigate whether Steele lied about the dossier’s distribution and his media contact. 

Fox News has repeatedly reached out to Kramer, and this week posed four questions to Kramer’s Florida attorney Marcos Jimenez, who is handling one of the defamation suits filed by Russian technology oligarchs against BuzzFeed for publishing the unverified dossier in January 2017. Fox News asked why Kramer took the Fifth; why he’s no longer cooperating with the committee; why they want to keep the BuzzFeed deposition under seal; and whether Kramer helped provide the document to BuzzFeed.

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David Kramer in November

 (Fox News/Pamela Browne)

There was no immediate response from Kramer’s lawyer to an email and phone message seeking comment.

The next hearing regarding Kramer’s deposition in the BuzzFeed defamation suit, and whether it should be publicly available, is set for Feb. 27.  

According to January civil proceedings in the case, “Gubarev, et al v. Buzzfeed et al,” Kramer’s attorney wants “his entire deposition as attorney’s eyes only confidential.” 

Lawyer Evan Fray Witzer, representing the Russian businessman, believes it should be public and not under a protective order. “We don’t think any of it is confidential. None of it talks about any kind of trade secrets, any kind of information that one would normally think of as being protected,” he said.

Fox News reported in December on the dossier handoff.

A spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee had no comment.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

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U.S. has administered over 309 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, CDC says

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The United States had administered 309,322,545 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and distributed 374,398,105 doses in the country as of Sunday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Those figures were up from the 308,112,728 doses of vaccine that the CDC said had been administered as of Saturday, out of 374,397,205 doses delivered.

The agency said 173,840,483 people in the United States had received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 143,921,222 people were fully vaccinated as of 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The CDC tally includes the two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech/ as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine.

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Nigel Farage SHOULD be honoured for 'services to EU exit' – 'He's the man of the Century!'

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DOZENS of influential figures have been rewarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their services to Brexit – but one former MEP has pointed out that Nigel Farage has been excluded.

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Queen Elizabeth II hosts Bidens at Windsor Castle

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LONDON — They met Friday at the Group of Seven summit, but President Joe Biden and the first lady had an altogether more private meeting with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, at her home in Windsor Castle.

The monarch, 95, received the Bidens for tea at her historic residence, about 30 miles west of London. On arrival they were greeted with an official Guard of Honor military parade, which gave a royal salute and played the American national anthem.

Biden stood next to the queen in the sunshine, wearing his aviator sunglasses, before inspecting the troops in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, last seen on television during the somber funeral ceremony of her husband, Prince Philip, who died aged 99 in April.

The queen has stoically continued with her official duties since then and met Biden alongside other world leaders and their spouses on Friday at the G-7 summit, by the seaside in Cornwall, southwest England.

There, she amused leaders when she quipped during a photo-call: “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourselves?”

Biden first met the queen in 1982 as a Democratic senator for Delaware but this time he joined her as president. He is the 13th serving president the monarch has met. She has met every serving American president since Dwight Eisenhower — except Lyndon Johnson who did not travel to Britain while in office.

As a 25-year-old princess in 1951, she also stayed with President Harry S. Truman and his family in Washington, D.C.

The queen has hosted four other American presidents at Windsor Castle in recent years, including former-President Donald Trump in 2018, who shocked press and palace pundits when he breached royal protocol by walking ahead of the queen, at times blocking her view and giving her his back.

After a state visit in 2019, Trump told Fox News: “There are those that say they have never seen the queen have a better time.”

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On arrival to England last week, first lady Jill Biden told reporters that meeting the queen was “an exciting part of the visit for us.”

She also undertook a separate engagement with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, when the two visited a school on Friday.

Kate told NBC News during the visit that she was looking forward to meeting her new niece, Lilibet Diana, born in California earlier this month.

Britain’s royal family have had a turbulent year in the public eye following a bombshell interview given by the queen’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

The couple stunned viewers with allegations of royal racism — denied by the palace — while Meghan also spoke publicly about how royal life and media pressure had taken its toll on her mental health.

After taking private afternoon tea with the queen on Sunday, Biden will then travel to nearby Brussels for a NATO summit, before heading to Switzerland on Wednesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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