EXCLUSIVE: Bush Official Who Worked With McCain’s Dossier Dealer Is Trying To Get Into The Trump State Department
Bush administration deputy assistant secretary David Merkel is trying to get back into the State Department in the Trump administration, Big League Politics has confirmed with multiple high-ranking administration sources.
“Very interesting intro,” Merkel said to me when Big League Politics contacted him to inquire about his angling for the State Department job. “I really don’t have anything to do with the dossier. I don’t have anything to say.”
David Merkel is the husband of Claire Sechler Merkel, the McCain Institute’s senior director of Arizona programs and a former Cindy McCain chief of staff and John McCain presidential campaign staffer. David Merkel has worked directly with David Kramer, the McCain Institute senior fellow who passed on the debunked Christopher Steele dossier during the “Operation Crossfire Hurricane” plot against President Donald Trump. (READ: Jennifer Rubin Quotes Kramer, Who Passed On The Debunked Dossier).
It turns out that David Merkel and David Kramer actually worked together to get Obama’s Russia ambassador Mike McFaul confirmed, before McFaul was photographed sitting directly in front of Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian set-up agent in the Don Jr. Trump Tower meeting who coordinated with Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson. (READ: Mueller Did NOT Interview Spy Natalia, As New York Prosecutors Charged Her to Keep Her OUT Of the Country).
Merkel and Kramer spoke at the McCain Institute’s September 2018 Tbilisi International Conference, according to McCain Institute literature. The pair also spoke at the same Halifax International Security Forum in 2013 and worked together for the Freedom House on the 2011 project “Democratic Change In Belarus: A Framework For Action.”
Merkel and Kramer joined together in writing a letter to John Kerry and Richard Lugar of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to strongly support then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Mike McFaul to become Russian ambassador during Obama’s “Russia reset.”
Josh Rogin reported for Foreign Policy in 2011: “We have known and worked closely with Mike for many years and have the highest regard for his professionalism and his dedication to American interests and ideals. He is one of America’s leading experts on democracy and has been a tireless promoter of democracy in Russia and elsewhere around the world,” wrote former Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman, former Assistant Secretaries of State David Merkel and Stephen Rademaker, former NSC Director Jamie Fly, Freedom House President David Kramer, former Rumsfeld and McCain advisor Randy Scheunemann, and the Brookings Institution fellow Robert Kagan. McFaul, who is a key architect of the Obama “reset” policy with Russia that many conservatives dislike, also has a long track record of advocating for democracy and human rights and is well positioned to press those issues in Moscow, the former officials wrote.
“His nomination has been enthusiastically supported by leading figures in the Russian political opposition. His presence there will provide a strong voice for democracy and freedom in that country and provide an open door and sympathetic ear to all elements of Russian society.'”
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McFaul was confirmed, and Natalia Veselnitskaya, who set up Don Jr. in Trump Tower in between dinner meetings with Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson, sat directly behind McFaul at a Russia-themed congressional hearing in 2016.
Merkel also joined with Kramer in writing a letter to then-President Obama in 2014 urging Obama to “confront Turkey on its poor human rights record.”
Merkel came out strong against President Trump’s lifting of sanctions on Russian companies.
Merkel was Konstantin Kilimnik’s boss at the International Republican Institute, according to the New York Times. Kilimnik, identified as a foreign partner of Paul Manafort and also linked to Fusion GPS spy Natalia Veselnitskaya, was charged by Robert Mueller for witness coercion in the Manafort case — one of numerous meaningless indictments Mueller issued against Russian nationals. Merkel also helped arrange for a Kilimnik job interview at a Russian-British oil project. Merkel is also friends with disgraced pro-Kremlin Latvian politician Nils Usakovs.
Merkel has also gained scrutiny for his friendship with former Lindsey Graham and John McCain aide Christian Ferry, a onetime Davis Manafort consultant. Merkel sits on the board of trustees at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, according to his bio at the George Soros-funded Atlantic Council, where is a senior fellow. Cindy McCain has shared a photograph of Merkel holding court with her team.