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Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele's frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months

Posted by on Jan. 13, 2017 at 11:46 PM
  • 10 Replies

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele's frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months

Exclusive: Steele was so concerned by revelations he worked without payment after Trump's election victory in November


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The Independent US

Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who investigated Donald Trump’s alleged Kremlin links, was so worried by what he was discovering that at the end he was working without pay, The Independent has learned.

Mr Steele also decided to pass on information to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that such material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Mr Trump, who had hired his services, but was a matter of national security for both countries.

However, say security sources, Mr Steele became increasingly frustrated that the FBI was failing to take action on the intelligence from others as well as him. He came to believe there was a cover-up, that a cabal within the Bureau blocked a thorough inquiry into Mr Trump, focusing instead on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. 

It is believed that a colleague of Mr Steele in Washington, Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who runs the firm Fusion GPS, felt the same way and, at the end also continued with the Trump case without being paid. 

Fusion GPS had been hired by Republican opponents of Mr Trump in September 2015. In June 2016 Mr Steele came on the team. He was, and continues to be, highly regarded in the intelligence world. In July, Mr Trump won the Republican nomination and the Democrats became new employers of Mr Steele and Fusion GPS. 

In the same month  Mr Steele produced a memo, which went to the  FBI, stating that Mr Trump’s campaign team had agreed to a Russian request to dilute attention on Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine. Four days later Mr Trump stated that he would recognise Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. A month later officials involved in his campaign asked the Republican party’s election platform to remove a pledge for military assistance to the Ukrainian government against separatist rebels in the east of the country. 

Mr Steele claimed that the Trump campaign was taking this path because it was aware that the Russians were hacking Democratic Party emails. No evidence of this has been made public, but the same day that Mr Trump spoke about Crimea he called on the Kremlin to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. 

By late July and early August MI6 was also receiving information about Mr Trump. By September, information to the FBI began to grow in volume: Mr Steele compiled a set of his memos into one document and passed it to his contacts at the FBI. But there seemed to be little progress in a proper inquiry into Mr Trump. The Bureau, instead, seemed to be devoting their resources in the pursuit of Hillary Clinton’s email transgressions. 

The New York office, in particular, appeared to be on a crusade against Ms Clinton. Some of its agents had a long working relationship with Rudy Giuliani, by then a member of the Trump campaign, since his days as public prosecutor and then Mayor of the city.  

As the election approached, FBI director James Comey made public his bombshell letter saying that Ms Clinton would face another email investigation. Two days before that Mr Giuliani, then a part of the Trump team, talked about “a surprise or two you’re going to hear about in the next few days. We’ve got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn things around”.

After the letter was published Mr Giuliani claimed he had heard from current and former agents that “there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI” over the original decision not to charge Ms Clinton and that Mr Comey had been forced by some of his agents to announce the reinvestigation. Democrats demanded an investigation into how Mr Giuliani acquired this knowledge without getting an answer.

In October a frustrated and demoralised Mr Steele, while on a trip to New York, spoke about what he has discovered to David Corn, the Washington editor of the magazine Mother Jones. There was a little flurry of interest that quickly died down.

Mr Trump’s surprise election victory came and the Democrat employers of Mr Steele and Mr Johnson no longer needed them. But the pair continued with their work, hopeful that the wider investigation into Russian hacking in the US would allow the Trump material to be properly examined.

It was against this background that Senator John McCain, who had been hearing with growing alarm reports about Mr Trump and the Kremlin, met Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow, who had spent 10 years in Russia and is highly respected for his knowledge of Russian affairs, at a security conference in Halifax, Canada.

Sir Andrew stressed to Senator McCain that he had not read the dossier, but vouched for Mr Steele’s professionalism and integrity. The chair of the Senate Armed Forces Committee then sent an emissary to London who picked up the dossier from an intermediary acting on behalf of Mr Steele. The Senator personally took the material to Mr Comey.

Mr Trump and Barack Obama were briefed about the allegations as part of a report into Russian hacking a week ago. Mr Trump remained silent about them until they were published this week and then he angrily denounced them as lies. His spokesperson said he could not recall the briefing. 

Mr Steele is now in hiding, under attack from some Tory MPs for supposedly trying to ruin the chances of Theresa May’s Government building a fruitful relationship with the Trump administration. Some of them accuse him of being part of an anti-Brexit conspiracy. A right-wing tabloid has “outed” him as being a “confirmed socialist” while at university.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-russia-dossier-file-investigation-hacking-christopher-steele-mi6-a7526901.html

by on Jan. 13, 2017 at 11:46 PM
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jessilin0113
by Ruby Member on Jan. 13, 2017 at 11:51 PM
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Mr Steele also decided to pass on information to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that such material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Mr Trump, who had hired his services, but was a matter of national security for both countries.


Wow.
pvtjokerus
by Ruby Member on Jan. 13, 2017 at 11:54 PM
1 mom liked this

Sweetie....the NYT has debunked a lot of this..........pssstttt....the NYT is the liberal cheerleader.

jessilin0113
by Ruby Member on Jan. 13, 2017 at 11:56 PM
This article was posted 5 hours ago. What has been debunked since then?

Quoting pvtjokerus:

Sweetie....the NYT has debunked a lot of this..........pssstttt....the NYT is the liberal cheerleader.

msb64
by Platinum Member on Jan. 14, 2017 at 12:11 AM
2 moms liked this

What We Know

■ In September 2015, a Washington political research firm, Fusion GPS, paid by a wealthy Republican donor who did not like Mr. Trump, began to compile “opposition research” on him — standard practice in politics.

■ Last June, after evidence of Russian hacking of Democratic targets surfaced, Fusion GPS hired a retired British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, to investigate Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

■ After it became clear that Mr. Trump would be the Republican nominee, Democratic clients who supported Hillary Clinton began to pay Fusion GPS for this same opposition research.

■ Mr. Steele, who had long experience in Russia and a network of connections there, compiled dozens of reports detailing what he heard from his contacts. The memos he wrote, mostly one to three pages long, are dated from June to December.

■ The memos contain unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail him with sex tapes and bribe him with business deals.

They also claim that the Trump campaign met with Russian operatives to discuss the Russians’ hacking and leaking of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.

■ Fusion GPS and Mr. Steele shared the memos first with their clients, and later with the F.B.I. and multiple journalists at The New York Times and elsewhere.

The memos, totaling about 35 pages, also reached a number of members of Congress.

■ Last week, when the F.B.I., C.I.A. and National Security Agency gave a classified report on the Russian hacking, leaking and efforts to influence the presidential election to Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders, they attached a two-page summary of the unverified allegations in the memos.

What We Don’t Know

■ Whether any of the claims in the memos are true. American intelligence agencies have not confirmed them, and Mr. Trump has said they are a complete fabrication.

In addition, one specific allegation — that Mr. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen met with a Russian official in Prague in August or September — has been denied by both Mr. Cohen, who says he has never been to Prague, and the Russian, Oleg Solodukhin.

■ Who concocted the information in the memos, if it is entirely false or partly so, and with what purpose. If all the information in the dossier is false, it is a very sophisticated fabrication.

■ What exactly prompted American intelligence officials to pass on a summary of the unvetted claims to Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and Congress. Officials have said they felt the president-elect should be aware of the memos, which had circulated widely in Washington. But putting the summary in a report that went to multiple people in Congress and the executive branch made it very likely that it would be leaked.

What will happen now?

The F.B.I. has been investigating the claims in the memos, and Democrats are demanding a thorough inquiry into the reports that Trump representatives met with Russian officials during the campaign. But as of Jan. 20, Mr. Trump will be in charge of the bureau and the other intelligence agencies, and he may not approve such an investigation.

Why can’t I read the memos on your website?

Because the 35 pages of memos prepared as opposition research on Mr. Trump contain detailed claims that neither the intelligence agencies nor The Times has been able to verify, Times editors decided to briefly summarize the claims and not publish the document.

Why did The Times report extensively on the hacking of the Democratic Party, but not this?

The Times did report before the election that the F.B.I. was investigating claims about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia — an article that resulted from an extensive reporting effort. The Democratic National Committee and Podesta emails were public, their authenticity was not in doubt, and they contained newsworthy information.

Why did the F.B.I. director write two letters about Clinton’s emails, but not this?

That is a question the director, James B. Comey, may eventually have to answer. His two public statements about the bureau’s investigation of the Clinton emails broke with long F.B.I. tradition.

Why did the news media not raise this during the campaign?

Many reporters from multiple news organizations tried to verify the claims in the memos but were unsuccessful.

So what changed on Tuesday? Why is this now being reported?

CNN broke the news that a summary of the memos had been attached to the classified report by the F.B.I., C.I.A. and National Security Agency on the Russian hacking and leaking, and that it had been given to Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders last week. That level of official attention prompted news organizations to decide to inform the public about the memos.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/11/us/politics/trump-intelligence-report-explainer.html

BTW, I am not your "sweetie".

Quoting pvtjokerus:

Sweetie....the NYT has debunked a lot of this..........pssstttt....the NYT is the liberal cheerleader.


pvtjokerus
by Ruby Member on Jan. 14, 2017 at 12:36 AM
1 mom liked this

Lots were debunked yesterday or day before......days are running together.  Steele didn't cooroborate the information.  Plus he claimed Trump's attorney traveled to a foreign country and met w/ Russians.  Travel was false too.  

Quoting jessilin0113: This article was posted 5 hours ago. What has been debunked since then?
Quoting pvtjokerus:

Sweetie....the NYT has debunked a lot of this..........pssstttt....the NYT is the liberal cheerleader.


Bookwormy
by Ruby Member on Jan. 14, 2017 at 9:16 AM
A lot of this is what was heard in those last 15 min. that frustrated Dems so much and has led to a justice department investigation of Comey.

And most of this had not been debunked. That's nonsense. Don't let defensiveness on the right get you down!
msb64
by Platinum Member on Jan. 14, 2017 at 9:38 AM

But Trump tweeted this morning that "intelligence insiders say dossier is a complete fraud".  Are we not to take him at his word?

Quoting Bookwormy: A lot of this is what was heard in those last 15 min. that frustrated Dems so much and has led to a justice department investigation of Comey. And most of this had not been debunked. That's nonsense. Don't let defensiveness on the right get you down!


Bookwormy
by Ruby Member on Jan. 14, 2017 at 10:23 AM
1 mom liked this
Comey is under justice investigation, so no. Trump is under Senate investigation, so no.

Quoting msb64:

But Trump tweeted this morning that "intelligence insiders say dossier is a complete fraud".  Are we not to take him at his word?

Quoting Bookwormy: A lot of this is what was heard in those last 15 min. that frustrated Dems so much and has led to a justice department investigation of Comey.



And most of this had not been debunked. That's nonsense. Don't let defensiveness on the right get you down!

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jan. 14, 2017 at 11:30 AM

Why did the F.B.I. director write two letters about Clinton’s emails, but not this?

That is a question the director, James B. Comey, may eventually have to answer. 


This situation and timing is much like what Comey did 11 days before the election.

I bet nothing comes of this...

Politicking at its worst.

meriana
by Ruby Member on Jan. 14, 2017 at 4:39 PM

Seems there's been a lot of "dirty dealings" on both sides. We will probably never really know what went on, by whom, much less what/how much is true and what/how much is false. We get snippets of alleged dealings but nothing any of us could say is proof. It all really does make one wish one could actually see and read all of the information they claim to have.

With all this going on, the inauguration will still take place and we will all still be wondering what is true and what isn't

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