Former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the explosive anti-Trump dossier alleging ties between Russians and the Trump campaign, has decided to break his silence and openly criticize the President.
CNN obtained a copy of the email Steele sent to Vanity Fair in which the retired spy says, “In these strange and troubling times, it is hard to speak unpalatable truths to power, but I believe we all still have a duty to do so.”
Referring to the magazine’s “2018 New Establishment List,” Steele continues, “I salute those on your list, and otherwise, who have had the courage to speak out over the last year, often at great personal cost. (A)t a time when governance is so distorted and one-sided, as I believe it currently is in the United States, the media has a key role to play in holding it accountable.”
The former spy will not be attending a Vanity Fair summit in Los Angeles, where a number of the newsmakers on the list will be present for fear of his safety. “I sincerely hope and trust that these circumstances will change soon,” he said.
Featured on the list are also special counsel Robert Mueller, filmmaker J.J. Abrams and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who the Vanity Fair called “election meddler” and said he “humiliated Donald Trump in Helsinki.”
The Steele dossier originated in 2016 when a law firm working for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hired opposition research company Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Steel, the ex-head of the Russia MI6 desk, was then hired by Fusion GPS. He used his sources in Russia to gather information about Trump’s ties to the country and later passed along his memos to the FBI.
As a result, he has been seen as a key player in Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Since then, he has mainly stayed quiet and only spoken publicly once. Steele has also been the target of Republicans on Capitol Hill, who claim he was part of a far-reaching conspiracy to stop Trump’s election.