Former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier of salacious and unverified claims about the president’s ties to Russia, has agreed to be questioned by investigators from the United States, according to a report in Britain.
The Times (UK) cited sources close to Steele on Tuesday in reporting that the 54-year-old is set to be interviewed in London within weeks. The development comes as attention has returned to the dossier authored by Steele — especially since its more sensational claims were not substantiated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose report found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
It’s not known who Steele would be interviewed by.
But there are several ongoing investigations in the U.S. related to the origins of the Russia probe, and federal investigators are probing how the Democrat-funded anti-Trump dossier written by Steele was used to secure surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2016.
Congressional committees have unsuccessfully sought testimony from Steele, who drafted the dossier while working for political opposition firm Fusion GPS, co-founded by Glenn Simpson.
Attorney General Bill Barr also recently announced that he appointed John Durham, the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, to review the FBI’s Russia probe. Barr has testified that “spying” occurred against the Trump campaign during the 2016 campaign and has voiced interest in getting to the bottom of what happened.
Further, the Justice Department’s inspector general, as Fox News has reported, has focused on how the dossier was used by the FBI as part of a long-running internal review of alleged surveillance abuses during the 2016 campaign.
Barr said he has not received answers from the intelligence community that are “at all satisfactory” in the early stages of his review into the origins of the Russia investigation.
“Like many other people who are familiar with intelligence activities, I had a lot of questions about what was going on,” Barr told CBS News. “And I assumed I’d get answers when I went in, and I have not gotten answers that are at all satisfactory.”
Republicans in Congress have long focused on the dossier, claiming that it formed the origins of what became Mueller’s Russia investigation. They and the president have noted in particular the dossier’s funding by the DNC and Clinton campaign.
According to a Politico report earlier this year, Steele intended to rebut the IG’s characterizations in the form of a rare public statement, but had previously declined to be interviewed — citing the potential impropriety of his involvement in an internal Justice Department investigation as a foreign national. If he is speaking with the IG’s office now, it’s unclear what has changed.
Separately, congressional Republicans have questioned whether British officials supported intelligence-gathering activities targeted at Trump associates or coordinated in any way with Steele.