Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who made a name for himself after releasing the “Steele Dossier” which claimed that Trump was in Russia’s pocket, defended his work in his first on-camera interview since 2017.
The British ex-spy told ABC News that he’s sitting down to set the record straight.
“Most of the world first heard your name about five years ago, but you stayed silent up until now. Why speak out now?” host George Stephanopoulos asked.
“I think the first and most important (reason) is that the problems we identified back in 2016 haven’t gone away, and arguably have actually got worse, and I thought it was important to come and set the record straight,” Steele said.
Umm, it would have been nice if Steele came around during the president’s actual time in office, but something tells me this is about a book or something Steele is trying to promote but we move on.
Steele’s unverified dossier–which lead to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia collusion in the 2016 election–claimed that the president of people who love jeeps with no roofs, was involved in a Russian shower with sex workers. There was supposedly video of the incident but those claims were never proven.
Mueller’s report also concluded that another allegation Steele made — that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen traveled to Prague in 2016 to meet with Russian officials — was untrue.
Steele reinforced his belief that most of the claims made in the dossier are accurate.
“I stand by the work we did, the sources that we had, and the professionalism which we applied to it,” Steele said.
Mueller, Steele argued, “was working to beyond-reasonable-doubt-level of evidence in criminal cases and prosecutions. And in much intelligence work, you never get to the point where you’re 99% certain of the evidence to secure a conviction.”
The FBI’s use of Steele’s dossier to obtain a foreign surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page was the subject of a scathing Justice Department inspector general report released in 2019. The report found the FBI’s Russia investigation was started properly, but it raised serious questions about Steele’s sources for the dossier, including the fact that his primary source told the FBI they may have talked about Trump’s alleged sexual activities “in jest” and that the tape was “rumor and speculation.”
In the interview, Steele claimed that just because the FBI couldn’t confirm his claims doesn’t mean they aren’t true. Most importantly, Steele confirmed that Russia had video of Trump watching Russian sex workers piss all over the place. When pressed, Steele said the tape “probably” exists, but that Russia has assessed “it hasn’t needed to be released.”
“And today, do you still believe that that tape exists?” Stephanopoulos asked, CNN reports.
“I think it probably does, but I wouldn’t put 100% certainty on it,” Steele said.
“So how do you explain that if the tape does indeed exist, it hasn’t been released?”
“Well, it hasn’t needed to be released,” Steele said. “I think the Russians felt they’d got pretty good value out of Donald Trump when he was President of the US.”