Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators met with former British spy Christopher Steele who wrote the Russian dossier including unproven allegations that Russian actors influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections and helped Donald Trump beat his political opponent Hillary Clinton.
The investigative team’s meeting with Steele, which took place this summer, was part of the investigation led on Moscow’s possible interference in last year’s elections. The investigation aims at determining whether the correspondence between people linked with Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian operatives led to breaking any laws.
U.S. intelligence agencies, the FBI and the CIA in particular, took the dossier very seriously even though it is yet to be verified whether the information presented in it is true. The agencies excluded the dossier from their January report, issued publicly, to avoid disclosing which parts of it they have so far confirmed, reports CNN.
The president, as well as certain lawmakers claimed the dossier was untrue and tried discredit Steele. Former director of the FBI, James Comey briefed Trump on the dossier in January, and since then the president has been persistent in his claims that it is fake. He said the dossier “was totally made-up stuff.”
Despite his assertions and the fact that many accusations in the dossier have not been confirmed, the U.S. intelligence community now accepts it as a fact that Russia carried on a campaign intended on interfering in the election.
Earlier this week, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Senator Richard Burr conveyed his apparent frustration that the former British spy has declined his committee’s request to meet with them. “The committee cannot really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding things like, who paid for it? Who are your sources and sub-sources?” said Burr.
The dossier was initially financed by an anti-Trump group, but when he became the Republican presidential nominee, a pro-Clinton group began funding the project.