The author of the infamous “Steele Dossier”, a memo containing numerous unverified claims about former President Donald Trump, says in a new interview that he stands by the veracity of the claims and adds that the so-called “kompromat” tape purporting to show Mr Trump involved in a lewd act with prostitutes, likely exists.
Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 agent who ran the agency’s Russia desk for several years, said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the recording of Mr Trump “probably does” still exist, but added that he did not put “100 per cent certainty” on such a recording being in the possession of Russia or another entity.
“[T]oday, do you still believe that this tape exists?” Mr Stephanopoulos asked him.
“I think it probably does, but I would not put 100 per cent certainty on it,” said the former spy.
Allies of the former president argued falsely that the dossier of unverified claims, including the shocking “pee tape” claim, was the basis for the FBI investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign. Top intelligence officials have testified that it actually stemmed from comments made by a Trump campaign official to an Australian diplomat, who alerted US authorities.
Mr Steele went on in his interview to defend the veracity of many of the unproven claims contained within the dossier, including the claim denied by Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer, that he travelled to Prague in the Czech Republic and met with officials from the Kremlin in 2016.
At the same time, he relented and admitted that “not everything” in the dossier regarding Mr Trump had ended up being true.
“I’m prepared to accept that not everything in the dossier is 100 percent accurate. I have yet to be convinced that that is one of them,” said the former spy.
Mr Steele’s dossier created a firestorm when it was published in early 2017 as Mr Trump was taking office by BuzzFeed News; at the time, it led to suggestions that Mr Trump was wittingly working for Russia as an agent of the Kremlin by left-leaning embracers of conspiracy theories.
It led to a wide range of criticism aimed at top FBI and Justice Department officials from Republicans despite their insistence that it was not the major contributing factor leading to the investigation of the Trump campaign, mainly due to it being produced by the firm Fusion GPS, an opposition research group that has worked in the interests of the Democratic Party in the past.