The retired British spy who authored a salacious dossier accusing the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia is taking a veiled shot at the president following 18 months of silence.
Christopher Steele has not spoken publicly since March 2017, a couple of months after the publication of his infamous dossier. But the former MI6 officer issued his first comments in response to being named to Vanity Fair’s 2018 New Establishment List.
“In these strange and troubling times, it is hard to speak unpalatable truths to power, but I believe we all still have a duty to do so. I salute those on your list, and otherwise, who have had the courage to speak out over the last year, often at great personal cost,” Steele wrote in an email to Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones, ABC News reported.
“At a time when governance is so distorted and one-sided, as I believe it currently is in the United States, the media has a key role to play in holding it accountable,” Steele continued.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is the top pick on the list. Steele is No. 38.
Steele has rejected congressional requests to discuss his investigation of Trump. He has reportedly met with members of Mueller’s team.
Steele began investigating Trump in June 2016 after being hired by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that was working for the Clinton campaign and DNC. Steele claimed in his 35-page report that the Russian government was blackmailing Trump with video of him engaged with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013. (RELATED: ‘Fifty-Fifty’: Christopher Steele Is Unsure About Trump ‘Golden Showers’ Tape)
Steele also claimed that members of the Trump campaign met secretly with Kremlin insiders with the goal of releasing documents stolen from the DNC and Clinton campaign.
None of the allegations have been publicly verified, but the FBI relied heavily on the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Steele said that he will not be able to attend Vanity Fair’s gala for the New Establishment event.
“In more normal times, I would have welcomed the opportunity to join you at your New Establishment Summit in the US this week,” he wrote.
“Sadly, in the present legal and political situation I am unable to do so, but I sincerely hope and trust that these circumstances will change soon.”
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