Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen vehemently denied allegations from the Steele dossier in a book released Tuesday in which he called the author of the salacious document, Christopher Steele, a “washed-up” former spy.
“To this day, there are reporters who insist that I went to Prague, despite the denial from the FBI and a complete absence of any evidence. Nevertheless, people like Christopher Steele continue this charade and insist that I’m hiding some nefarious plot hatched in the Czech city,” Cohen wrote in “Disloyal.”
Cohen was referring to Steele’s allegation that the longtime Trump fixer visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials to discuss paying off hackers who stole emails from Democrats.
The allegation is Steele’s most specific accusation of Trump-Russia collusion in the dossier, which BuzzFeed News published on Jan. 10, 2017. Steele’s claim fueled countless theories in the establishment media that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.
Cohen, who published “Disloyal” while serving a three-year federal prison sentence, has long denied that he visited Prague or met with Kremlin insiders, though his comments about Steele are the most direct he’s made to date about the retired MI6 officer. (RELATED: Despite Red Flags, Christopher Steele Thinks Dossier Will Be Vindicated)
Cohen assailed the dossier as a “horseshit report,” saying it is the product of “some washed-up former MI-6 intelligence operative in England who I knew for a fact didn’t have his facts straight.”
The special counsel’s report and a Justice Department inspector general’s report both said that Cohen did not visit Prague, as Steele alleged. The finding has raised questions about how Steele came to publish inaccurate information about the Trump team’s links to Russia.
Steele was hired in June 2016 to investigate the Trump campaign on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign. In the dossier, he alleged that the Trump campaign was part of a “well-developed conspiracy of coordination with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.
Steele’s primary source, Igor Danchenko, told the FBI in January 2017 that a female Russian friend was the source for the information about Cohen. He said that the woman was also the source of an allegation about Carter Page that the FBI cited in its applications to surveil the former Trump campaign aide.
The Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report released on Dec. 9 that the FBI received information on Jan. 12, 2017, two days after the dossier was published, that the Cohen claim may have been Russian disinformation.
Cohen wrote in “Disloyal” that Donald Trump pressed him over the dossier allegation after the document was published.
“What the fuck?” Trump said, according to Cohen. “What’s this about?”
“This is very bad. It’s blowing up on the Internet,” Trump continued.
“It’s complete bullshit,” Cohen replied. “I have no idea where it’s coming from. I’ve never been to Prague.”
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