As part of his expansive investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential campaign, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into allegations made in the infamous anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
According to Reuters, Mueller’s investigators have taken over control of the inquiry into the dossier from the FBI, which learned of the Steele document last July. A source familiar with Mueller’s investigation has also confirmed to The Daily Caller that Mueller’s team has made inquiries about information contained in the dossier.
Steele, a retired MI6 agent, was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate Trump’s personal and business activities in Russia. Fusion had in turn been hired by a political ally of Hillary Clinton’s.
The result of that collaboration is 35 pages of memos full of salacious allegations about Trump and his campaign’s interactions with Russian operatives. BuzzFeed News published the document on Jan. 10.
Trump and members of the campaign have vehemently denied the claims, and some of the people named in the document have filed lawsuits against Steele, Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed. (RELATED: This Lawsuit Could Reveal Mysteries Of The Trump Dossier)
But while many of the allegations in the dossier have come under heavy scrutiny, the document is still of interest to investigators both in the Special Counsel’s office and in Congress. If true, the claims made in the dossier would be damning for Trump’s presidency. But if false, the FBI and intelligence community will come under heavy scrutiny for using the dossier for its investigation.
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Wednesday that his committee has tried in vain to interview Steele about the dossier.
“Unfortunately, the committee has hit a wall,” Burr said during a briefing about his committee’s investigation. (RELATED: Senate Intel Committee Doesn’t Know If Dossier Is Credible)
“The committee cannot really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding things like who paid for it, who are your sources and sub-sources,” he added.
Members of the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, both of which are conducting Russia-related investigations, have also sought out answers about the dossier, including whether the FBI vetted Steele’s sources and how heavily investigators relied on the document to kickstart its investigation.
Some lawmakers have expressed concern that the FBI relied on a politically-tinged document for the basis of its investigation.
Last year, after Steele shared some of the dossier with the FBI, the bureau opened its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. U.S. officials also cited the dossier in an application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Page, an energy consultant, is accused in the dossier of serving as the Trump campaign’s middleman to Kremlin operatives. Page has vehemently denied the claims in the Steele document, which he calls the “dodgy dossier.”
It is no surprise that Mueller’s sprawling investigation into Russian interference would include a look at Steele’s allegations.
WATCH INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS DISCUSS RUSSIAN COLLUSION:
In addition to investigating possible collusion, Mueller is looking into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government, as well as into the financial activities of Trump campaign figures.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn are being investigated for business dealings not directly related to the collusion question.