The former British intelligence agent who authored the infamous dossier on President Trumpler’s alleged Russia ties has agreed to speak to American authorities, according to a UK media report.
Christopher Steele, the retired UK spy who now runs his own private intelligence firm, seems to have changed his mind since last week, when reports suggested he would not agree to speak to US officials. On Monday, however, the Times reported that Steele has since consented to the inquiry, and will meet with investigators from the US Attorney General’s office “within weeks.”
According to a source at Steele’s firm Orbis Business Intelligence, Steele decided to speak to US investigators in order to clear his name. Trump supporters have claimed it was inappropriate for the FBI probe into Trump’s Russia ties to rely on intelligence gathered by Steele, since that data was originally compiled while on retainer for a firm working for Hilary Clinton, then Trump’s political opponent for the office of US president.
In 2016, Steele authored his 17-memo report on Trump’s alleged Russia ties on behalf of the firm Fusion and the dossier apparently formed the basis for a request by the Obama administration to wiretap a Trump campaign adviser, on suspicion of being a Russian agent. The dossier claimed Trump could be blackmailed by Moscow.
Steele’s compiled report spurred the FBI in May 2017 to launch an inquiry into Trump’s ties to Russia, a two-year-long investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, which eventually “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”