Remember the unverified 35-page dossier that Buzzfeed published back in January which contained explosive, but unverified, allegations about ties between the Russian government and Donald Trump? All we were told is that “the document was prepared for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligence agent.”
Senator John McCain was apparently the source who first obtained the dossier before passing it along to the FBI. The claims within the dossier were quickly proven to be nonsense, earning them the honor of being branded a “failing piece of garbage” by the president.
We learned earlier this week that just a few weeks before the election, the spy in question, Christopher Steele, reached an agreement with the FBI for them to PAY him to continue his work. That ended up not going through however when the dossier was made public through Buzzfeed and became the subject of widespread media scorn (though CNN reported that the FBI reimbursed Steele for some the the expenses he incurred related to the dossier) — and Steele was “so worried by what he was discovering.”
And despite all that, now the Senate (that’s the Republican-led Senate) wants him to testify.
According to The Independent: Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy who prepared the explosive Trump report, has been approached about testifying before the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the new President’s alleged links with Russia, The Independent can reveal.
By the way, Senator John McCain is an “ex oficio” member of that Committee.
Mr Steele’s friends say it is currently unlikely he would be willing to travel to the US. But it is understood Democrats – as well as some Republicans – in Congress are prepared to facilitate discreet initial meetings in the UK or on other neutral territory.
Mr Steele had, while carrying out his Trump inquiry, himself liaised for regular periods with the bureau.
Mr Trump has personally attacked Mr Steele, declaring the report on the Kremlin connection by the former MI6 officer as a fabricated work, put together by a “failed spy”.
Mr Steele has not yet responded to requests to meet with Senate officials – described as informal at this stage – for testimony, which have come over the last fortnight. But friends say he may be willing to speak about his investigation to senators and US officials if certain security conditions are met.
The contents of the dossier are bogus – so what is Steele possibly expected to testify about? It’s doubtful they’re sending out the invitation so he can explain away his so-called “research.” Or is this yet another attempt to cast doubt and suspicion on the Trump administration by giving this despicable story more oxygen?
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]