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Christopher Steele Defends Discredited Trump Dossier

  Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer behind the infamous dossier on former President Donald Trump, broke his silenc...

 Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer behind the infamous dossier on former President Donald Trump, broke his silence this week and defended the contents of the dossier, much of which has been contested and remains unverified.

In an interview with ABC News, Steele said he stands by “the work we did, the sources that we had, and the professionalism which we applied to it.”

“It was credible reporting,” Steele told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “We knew some of it was right, and we suspected some of it may never be provable.”

“The idea that somebody with my track record — and I’ve never had my integrity, professionalism, or expertise on Russia questioned at any point in my career — would be inventing some strange, fabricated document or information, is absolute anathema, and I wouldn’t be a successful businessman if that were the practice,” Steele said.

The 35-page dossier, which exploded in the news cycle just 10 days before Trump took office in 2017, alleged that the Trump campaign conspired with Russian operatives to benefit Trump in the 2016 election. Trump dismissed the dossier as a “hoax.”

“I think there are parts of the dossier which have been stood up, there are parts of the dossier that haven’t been stood up,” Steele told Stephanopoulos. “And there are one or two things in it which have been proven wrong.”

On the most salacious allegation, that Russian authorities had filmed Trump being urinated on by prostitutes in 2013 in a Moscow hotel room, Steele said he still believes footage of that event “probably does” exist.

A December 2019 Justice Department inspector general report found that “certain allegations” in the dossier “were inaccurate or inconsistent” with the FBI’s Russian investigation of the Trump campaign and that “the limited information that was corroborated related to time, location, and title information, much of which was publicly available.”

“Do you accept that conclusion?” Stephanopoulos pressed Steele.

“I think they are putting too much store, frankly, into what FBI knew about early on in the campaign,” Steele responded. “I think the FBI is generally an effective organization. I’m not sure the extent to which FBI has got good coverage of Moscow and Moscow politics and Moscow operations.”

The FBI cited the dossier in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to surveil the Trump campaign in 2016. The inspector general report found that the FBI knew Steele’s allegations about Trump’s connection to the Russian government were not reliable but failed to say so in some of its applications for warrants to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

Democrats claimed that the dossier was not the main reason the FBI applied for warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, but the inspector general report found it had played a “central and essential role.”

Furthermore, Steele was contracted to compile the dossier by Fusion GPS, a firm that was working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign at the time.

When the inspector general report came out, Attorney General William Barr slammed the FBI for launching an “intrusive” probe into the Trump campaign.

“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said.

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