Former British spy Christopher Steele has agreed to meet in London with U.S. officials regarding the dossier, The Times of London is reporting.
A source close to Steele told the newspaper he plans to meet with American authorities within the next several weeks, but only about his interactions with the FBI and only with the approval of the British government.
Steele’s decision is an apparent about-face from his reported refusal to meet with U.S. investigators regarding his infamous report.
Reuters reported in May that Steele was unwilling to meet with a federal prosecutor who Attorney General William Barr tapped to lead an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. And Politico reported on April 17 that Steele was refusing to meet with the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general, which is looking into the FBI’s use of the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.
Steele alleged in the dossier that the Trump campaign was part of a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. He also reported that the Kremlin was blackmailing President Donald Trump with video of him with prostitutes in Moscow in 2016. (RELATED: AG Barr ‘Concerned’ That Steele Dossier Was Russian Disinformation)
Those allegations have been all but debunked by the special counsel’s investigation, which was unable to find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Kremlin to influence the election.
Steele, who worked indirectly for the Clinton campaign and DNC, was interviewed by the special counsel twice in 2017, but has rebuffed congressional requests for in-person interviews. He has largely avoided public view since BuzzFeed published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017. He backed out of appearing at a national security event that was to be held in Baltimore in early March.
Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, is reportedly investigating the FBI’s use of Steele as a confidential informant. Steele first provided information to an FBI agent based in Rome on July 5, 2016. He met with FBI agents at other points before the election, as well as with members of the media, State Department and Justice Department officials.
The FBI cut ties with Steele on Oct. 31, 2016, after an article appeared which quoted Steele anonymously as a source speaking about his investigation of Trump. But investigators re-established contact with Steele weeks after the election. They tapped Justice Department official Bruce Ohr to serve as a back channel of sorts between Steele and the FBI.
Barr, the attorney general, has also expressed interest in the provenance of the dossier. He testified that he is concerned that the document is Russian disinformation. Steele, who worked in Russia for MI6 until his retirement in 2009, reportedly relied on a network of sources inside Russia to compile the dossier. The report’s apparent inaccuracies has led some intelligence experts to call for an investigation into whether Kremlin operatives planted false information with Steele in order to smear Trump.
Steele’s intelligence firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, did not respond to a request for comment.
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