Ex-British spy and oppo-researcher Christopher Steele admitted in a defamation lawsuit that he was paid to help Hillary Clinton overturn the 2016 election result in case she lost.
Steele, whose unverified dossier was the basis of the on-going Russia collusion investigation, admitted to a court in London that Democratic law firm Perkins Coie paid his contractor Fusion GPS to find dirt on Donald Trump with the aim of providing Clinton with a justification to challenge the election results, the Washington Times reported.
Steele was hired to help Hillary challenge election
Steele’s revelation came in an August deposition in a defamation suit brought against him by three Russian bankers who are named in the dossier. In a series of answers to the suit, Steele revealed that he was paid by Perkins Coie to dig up dirt that the Clinton campaign could use to challenge the “validity of the outcome” of the election.
Steele wrote, “Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie. It engaged Fusion to obtain information necessary for Perkins Coie LLP to provide legal advice on the potential impact of Russian involvement on the legal validity of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election.”
“Based on that advice, parties such as the Democratic National Committee and HFACC Inc. (also known as ‘Hillary for America’) could consider steps they would be legally entitled to take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election,” Steele said in the unsealed August declaration, published by the Times.
Lawyers for the Russian bankers filed Steele’s answers last week in an appeal in U.S. District Court of their defamation suit against Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that contracted Steele, and the spy after a D.C. Superior Court judge dismissed the case. The bankers claim that Steele defamed them by alleging that they bribed Russian president Vladimir Putin as part of an “extensive conspiracy” to interfere in the U.S. election. Steele defended himself by claiming in declarations in London court that the bank they control, Alfa Bank, communicated with a server belonging to the Trump Organization; the claim has not been proven.
Steele is facing a separate defamation suit in London from Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev, who Steele accused of hacking Democrats’ computers in the dossier. Gubarev is also suing Buzzfeed, which helped spread the dossier’s claims by publishing the document on its website last year.
The Obama Justice Department used Steele’s dossier to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign despite never verifying the document and never disclosing that the dossier was funded by the Democrats to the FISA court.
In closed-door testimony this month, former FBI director James Comey admitted that the dossier was never substantiated despite the central role it played in justifying the spy campaign and denied knowing or ever meeting Steele, or knowing much at all about the dossier or how the Russia investigation began, despite his authority at the FBI at the time.
The dossier nevertheless reached Comey, who briefed President Trump on its contents using a two-page summary that the FBI released Friday. The unredacted parts of the summary made no mention of the fact that the Democrats funded the dossier.
Steele was hired by contractor Fusion GPS to gather dirt on Trump and his campaign in June of 2016. His dossier purports that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and that the Kremlin had blackmail on Trump, including a so-called “pee tape,” but its most salacious allegations have never been proven.
A liberal journalist who co-authored Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, Michael Isikoff, admitted this week that “there’s good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false.” The admission prompted a rare thank-you from President Trump. Isikoff was one of the first reporters to cover the dossier after it was leaked to the press by Steele.
The dossier ultimately led to a now-two year investigation into alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. The investigation has not yet yielded any evidence of collusion, although a number of Trump’s associates have been convicted and sentenced for various unrelated offenses.