Former President Donald Trump's entire tenure in office was marred even before it formally began by the ultimately debunked or unproven claims of alleged collusion with Russia that first emerged in 2016 by way of the so-called "Steele Dossier."
Now roughly seven years after the grievous political damage was done, Trump has reportedly filed a lawsuit in the United Kingdom against the dossier's author, former British spy Christopher Steele, and the intelligence consulting firm he founded, according to the Washington Examiner.
Trump is presumably seeking a formal retraction and correction of the inaccurate claims against him as well as unspecified monetary compensation for damages to his reputation.
The U.K.'s Independent reported Thursday on the filing in the High Court of the lawsuit making a "data protection claim" against Steele, who previously headed up the Russia desk of the U.K.'s Secret Intelligence Service, and his consulting company, Orbis Business Intelligence.
Few details were known about the filing other than that a two-day hearing on the matter had been scheduled for October 16, which former President Trump is not expected to attend.
The outlet noted that Steele and his company had previously been sued over the dossier by a Russian national named Aleksej Gubarev, who claimed that he'd been libeled by the former spy, but that suit was ultimately dismissed by a judge in 2020.
Former President Trump's attorney in this suit, Tim Lowles, told the New York Post in a statement, "Proceedings have been issued on behalf of President Donald J. Trump against Orbis Business Intelligence Limited."
"The claim relates to breaches of U.K. Data Protection law arising from the inaccurate processing of the President’s personal data by Orbis following the publication of the false 'Steele Dossier,'" he continued.
The lawyer added, "The President’s claim seeks remedies including that the inaccurate data contained within the Steele Dossier be erased or rectified together with the payment of damages."
The Post reported that Steele was hired and tasked with compiling the anti-Trump dossier in 2016 by left-leaning opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which had in turn been hired by attorneys for the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee for the purpose of digging up -- or creating -- dirt that could be used against then-candidate Trump during the 2016 election.
Though some of the false allegations of Russian collusion within the dossier began to circulate among the media and the Obama administration prior to the election -- triggering a baseless but persistent FBI investigation against Trump and his campaign -- it was in January 2017, just days before Trump was sworn in as president, that Buzzfeed published the fraudulent collection of reports in its entirety.
Intermingled with the allegations that Trump was compromised and susceptible to Russian blackmail were some rather absurd and salacious claims, including that Russian intelligence had videotaped evidence of Trump having hired Russian prostitutes to urinate on a bed in a Moscow hotel room where former President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama had once stayed.
Over time, and despite the best efforts of Democrats and their media allies to keep perpetuating the anti-Trump claims, the dossier was rather definitively debunked and disproven, and though Steele has largely kept a low profile over the years, he has occasionally popped up to defend his fraudulent collection of reports amid criticism, according to the Post.
"What is being called the dossier was actually a series of single-source intelligence reports over a period of time, if you like, almost a running commentary on the election campaign and Russia’s perspective on it -- and it comes from the Russian perspective of the telescope if you like," Steele explained in 2022 to the Oxford Union. "The sources were Russian, they were reporting on how Russia saw it, and of course, that may in some cases be rather different than how it was viewed in America at the other end of the telescope."