Christopher Steele Dodged Congress’s Interview Requests, But Chuck Grassley Found A Solution
- Christopher Steele dodged all requests to meet with Congress about his dossier.
- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley found a solution.
- Lawyers for a Russian businessman suing over the dossier have agreed to provide Grassley with a deposition Steele gave in June.
A lawyer for a Russian businessman suing BuzzFeed News over the infamous Steele dossier says he will provide the Senate with a video of a deposition that Christopher Steele, the document’s author, gave as part of the BuzzFeed lawsuit in June.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the judiciary panel, asked Val Gurvits, a lawyer for Boston Law Group, to provide a transcript and video of a deposition that Steele gave in London on June 18 as part of a lawsuit against BuzzFeed in a July 25 letter.
Gurvits’s client, Aleksej Gubarev, is suing the media company for defamation for publishing the dossier. The 35-page document, which Steele wrote while working for the Clinton campaign and DNC, accuses Gubarev of being a Russian spy and using his web hosting companies of stealing information from the DNC’s computer systems. (RELATED: Russian Suing BuzzFeed Over The Dossier Calls Mueller Indictment An ‘Utter Vindication’)
BuzzFeed published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017. Gubarev has accused the outlet of failing to investigate the dossier’s claims before publishing the report.
Gurvits tells The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Gubarev legal team plans to comply with Grassley’s request.
“My client has instructed me from the very beginning of this lawsuit to fully cooperate with all US government requests,” he said.
Congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election have failed so far to interview Steele, a former MI6 officer based in London.
“It is my understanding that Mr. Steele has refused all Congressional attempts to interview him. Thus, this information is otherwise unavailable,” Grassley wrote to Gurvits.
Using a middleman in 2017, Steele sought to meet with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss his investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russian government officials. North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intel panel, recently said the committee has been unable to get an interview with Steele despite being in frequent contact with him.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is interested in finding out more about Steele’s contacts with the FBI and the FBI’s use of the dossier to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Grassley and his fellow Judiciary Committee member, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, have also referred Steele to the Department of Justice for investigation over what they claim are the ex-spy’s misleading statements to the FBI about his contacts with the media.
“The consistency of sworn descriptions of Mr. Steele’s dossier project and attendant media contacts is particularly relevant to the Committee’s inquiry,” Grassley wrote.
Steele, who is also being sued by Gubarev in the U.K., met with several American reporters in September and October 2016 to discuss his investigation of Trump. Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC, helped arrange the journalist briefings.
Steele revealed in a London court that he met with reporters from Yahoo! News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Mother Jones and CNN prior to the campaign.
The FBI cut ties with Steele just before the election after they found out he had contact with Mother Jones reporter David Corn. Corn published an article on Oct. 31, 2016, that cited an unnamed “Western intelligence source” who had compiled information about Trump campaign contacts with the Russian government. (RELATED: Senators: Substantial Evidence That Steele Misled FBI About The Dossier)
Grassley and Graham questioned whether Steele misled the FBI because the bureau’s FISA applications state that Steele denied having contact with the press. It is unclear when Steele offered the denial.
Though the FBI ended a longstanding relationship with Steele, he remained in contact with a Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. Ohr, whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, gave 12 interviews to the FBI after the election to share information from his interactions with Steele.