Former British spy Christopher Steele claimed former Prime Minister Theresa May and then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ignored evidence that the Kremlin had a “hold over” President Donald Trump in order to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States.
The author of the widely discredited and Democrat Party funded Steele Dossier made the comments in 2018 in a confidential hearing held by the British parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). Steele’s statements were reportedly made during a similar probe into supposed Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
In his 2018 testimony, the former head of the Russia desk at MI6 headquarters in London said: “My understanding, arising partly from personal experience with the ‘Trump-Russia dossier’, is that this government perhaps more than its predecessors is reluctant to see (or act upon) intelligence on Russian activities when this presents difficult wider political implications,” according to The Guardian.
“Examples of this include reporting on the Kremlin’s likely hold over President Trump and his family/administration and indications of Russian interference in and clandestine funding of the Brexit referendum,” Steele claimed.
The ex-spy said that in late 2016 he presented a similar dossier on Trump-Russia collusion to the British government. Steel claimed his report was initially taken seriously by the government but went on to say that “on reaching top political decision-makers, a blanket appeared to be thrown over it”.
“In this case, political considerations seemed to outweigh national security interests. If so, in my view, HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) made a serious mistake in balancing matters of strategic importance to our country,” he said.
“A prospective trade deal should never be allowed to eclipse considerations of national security,” Steele pronounced.
President Donald Trump hinted that Barack Obama and Joe Biden could soon be implicated for their alleged roles in the controversial Russia collusion investigation. https://t.co/b1QnwbsdWa
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 10, 2020
The Steele dossier was compiled by the former British intelligence agent for the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The funding initially came from a Republican source who was opposed to then-candidate Donald Trump securing the GOP nomination for president.
The project was then picked up and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee through the Perkins Coie law firm.
The FBI used the dossier — which relied heavily on foreign sources including some inside the Kremlin — as a pretext to surveil former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
When the FBI obtained the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil the Trump campaign in the Crossfire Hurricane probe into possible Russian collusion, they failed to notify the court that the dossier was a product of partisan opposition research.
The discredited information in the Steele dossier was also used as the basis for Russian collusion narrative that sought to destroy the legitimacy of President Trump during the first two years of his presidency.
During the impeachment of President Trump, Republican lawmakers questioned whether the Democrat Party’s use of a report compiled by a former British spy constituted foreign election interference.
In response, House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said that it was not improper as the Democrat Party “purchased” it.
“The analogy is not applicable to the present situation because, first, to the extent that opposition research was obtained, it was opposition research that was purchased,” Congressman Jeffries said.
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) June 12, 2020
Christopher Steele’s testimony is set to be published in full next week in Guardian journalist Luke Harding’s book Shadow State: Murder, Mayhem and Russia’s Remaking of the West.
The testimony is likely to have been included in the so-called Russia Report that investigated possible Russian meddling in the Brexit vote and the 2017 general election. The report has, to date, been held back from public view.
According to the BBC, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which is tasked with managing the report, is set to reconvene for the first time in over six months, meaning that the report may be released soon.
On Monday, Downing Street said that it could not comment on Steele’s allegations until the full report is published.
In April, the Brexit-backing businessman Arron Banks and Leave.EU CEO Liz Bilney won a settlement against the Electoral Commission after it was admitted that there was “no evidence” that they had committed any crimes during the EU referendum.
The decision came after years of accusations from Remainers that the Russians were channelling “dark money” into the Brexit campaign.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 25, 2019
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka