The former British intelligence officer behind the infamous Democrat-funded dossier that helped fuel the “Trump-Russia collusion” narrative — a conspiracy theory for which Special Counsel Robert Mueller ultimately found no evidence — told a court last month that key documents and records related to the dossier “no longer exist.”
On Thursday, Chuck Ross reported on a transcript of a March 17-18 deposition exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation in which Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer who was hired to investigate Donald Trump ahead of the 2016 election, told a court “that he no longer has documents and other information from his meetings with the main source for his Trump dossier.”
“Christopher Steele told a British court last month that he no longer has documents and other information from his meetings with the main source for his Trump dossier, suggesting that the former British spy has no way of backing up his side in a dispute with the Justice Department’s inspector general (IG),” Ross reports, citing the transcript of the deposition. “Steele also told the court that his communications regarding the dossier, including with Fusion GPS, were ‘wiped’ in December 2016 and January 2017, the transcript shows.”
The firm that hired Steele, Fusion GPS, was paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to produce opposition research on Donald Trump. The end product was Steele’s “dirty dossier,” which was infamously published by BuzzFeed News in January 2017 despite being unverified, salacious, and clearly politically motivated. Investigations have since revealed that the unverified dossier played a “central and essential role” in the FBI initiating surveillance of the Trump campaign.
Ross provides some background on the key documents and correspondence that Steele told the court “no longer exists” (formatting adjusted):
Steele suggested in a Dec. 10 statement that he had evidence that would shed light on what his main dossier source told him back in 2016, when Steele was working for the firm Fusion GPS to investigate the Trump campaign.
Steele’s statement was a response to an IG report released the day before that said that Steele’s source — dubbed the “Primary Sub-Source” — told the FBI in January 2017 that Steele misrepresented or embellished information in the dossier. That bombshell severely undermined Steele’s report, which the FBI used as part of its investigation into the Trump campaign.
Steele also said he does not have information related to the 2016 debriefings with the “primary sub-source.”
“It is unclear if Steele made audio or video recordings of the debriefings with the source, or if the retired spy was referring to written or electronic documents,” writes Ross. “It is also unclear whether Steele got rid of the information himself, or if it was lost through other means. Steele’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.”
The deposition came as result of a lawsuit by three Russian bankers who are suing Steele for defamatory accusations included in the dossier about them supposedly directing money to Vladimir Putin. When asked by one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers about the documents and recordings he mentioned, the lawyers asked, “But none of these documents exist, so they have all been destroyed?”
“They no longer exist,” said Steele.
“As I understand your position, you have no contemporaneous notes or emails, save for your notes of interactions with the FBI; is that right?” the lawyer asked in reference to correspondence and notes related to the dossier and the “primary source.”
“I believe that is true, yes,” answered Steele. Asked about any records or emails or “other memoranda” related to the claims made against the plaintiffs, Steele said, “No, they were wiped in early January 2017.” (Read Ross’s full report here.)
Author: James Barrett