On Wednesday former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele released a statement on Twitter defending himself after the release of special counsel John Durham’s report on the FBI’s “missteps” during their 2016 Trump-Russia collusion investigation.
[RELATED: Durham Report: FBI Never Should Have Launched Investigation Into Trump/Russia Collusion]
The so-called Steele Dossier (a.k.a. the Golden Showers Dossier) was a compilation of raw intelligence pertaining to alleged ties between former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, and claimed the existence of a sex tape of Trump’s alleged lewd exploits in a Moscow hotel.
Steele was hired to compile the dossier by private investigative firm Fusion GPS, which had received funding from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Buzzfeed News initially published the Steele dossier in January of 2017, without verifying any of its claims.
Durham’s report called the Steele dossier “unvetted and unverified,” and said that the FBI “was not able to confirm or corroborate any of the substantive allegations” of its claims.
Durham’s investigation also revealed that Steele had relied heavily on information received from U.S.-based Russian national Igor Danchenko.
From January of 2017 through October of 2020, the FBI conducted multiple interviews of Danchenko in which he was unable to substantiate any of the claims that formed the core of the Steele dossier, Durham reported.
Despite being the subject of multiple counterespionage investigations, the FBI used Danchenko’s unverified information through the Steele dossier as probable cause to obtain FISA warrants against former Trump advisor Carter Page.
According to the Durham report, Danchenko had told another person that he was responsible for “80% of the intel” and “50% of the analysis” in the Steele dossier.
In interviews with the FBI, Danchenko himself called the Steele dossier’s allegations of the Moscow Ritz Carlton Trump sex tape nothing more than “rumor and speculation,” and that most of the information he provided to Steele came from “casual conversation with people in his social circle,” the report adds.
Despite Durham’s findings, Steele remains committed to claiming his 2016 reporting was “objective and not politically motivated.”
“Putin admitted in Helsinki he wanted Trump to win in 2016 and Trump’s assertion there was no evidence of Russian interference spoke volumes,” Steele said.
Contrary to Steele’s persistent beliefs on the matter, the Durham report concluded that the FBI had no substantive evidence to launch an investigation into Trump-Russia collusion, and that the FBI could not corroborate any of the claims Steele made in his dossier.
[RELATED: Watch our compilation of Sen. Angus King pushing the Trump-Russia collusion narrative]
Although the Steele Dossier and its allegations dominated national media coverage of the Trump presidency, Durham’s report has received far less attention.