- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2017

Investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election have reportedly spoken with the former British spy who compiled the controversial anti-Trump dossier.

According to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity to CNN, the meeting with Christopher Steele took place this past summer in Europe.

Financed by supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the dossier contains allegations about President Trump and his ties to Russia. Mr. Steele wrote it in 2016 with support from Washington, DC-based political opposition firm Fusion GPS before it was published by the online news service Buzzfeed just before January’s inauguration.

Since then the brunt of the dossier’s major allegations have been disproved — or placed in doubt — particularly those relying upon unnamed Kremlin sources.

After the FBI obtained the dossier last year, former FBI Director James Comey privately briefed Mr. Trump about its existence.

According to CNN, the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement community — particularly the CIA and FBI — took Mr. Steel’s work so seriously they excluded it from January’s publicly-released report on Russian meddling to hide which allegations they had corroborated and how.

Reports earlier this week speculated that Mr. Mueller’s probe had reportedly taken over the investigation of the controversial anti-Trump dossier from the FBI.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the special counsel declined to discuss the dossier with The Washington Times.

On Wednesday at a press conference updating Congress’ top investigation on the Russia issue, leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said they’d “hit a wall” with Mr. Steele, who had declined to be interviewed. Chairman Sen. Richard Burr said the committee made multiple attempts to meet the former British intelligence officer, but the “offers have gone unaccepted.”

Questions over Mr. Steele’s relationship with the American intelligence community have long caused intrigue in Washington.

According to documents reported on earlier this year, the FBI and Mr. Steele have a relationship going back to at least 2010 when the former MI-6 agent provide the bureau information about corruption at FIFA, which resulted in criminal charges against the world soccer governing body’s longtime president Sepp Blatter.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly dismissed the dossier as “made-up junk” and lashed out at allegations of campaign collusion with Moscow as a hoax.

Separately this week, three Russian businessmen named in the largely discredited dossier filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington against Fusion GPS for libel.

The suit, on behalf of Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan - who cofounded Russia’s Alfa Bank — claims its unverified information has been “gravely damaging” to them. The same men in May filed a libel suit in a New York state court against BuzzFeed, which published the dossier.

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