Report: Christopher Steele Also Meddled In The Russia-Brexit Investigation

November 1st, 2019
Christopher Steele speaks to reporters in London. (YouTube screen shot/CBS News)

British authorities included information from Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier, in a highly anticipated document about possible Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to a report.

Steele, a former MI6 officer, provided research to the British parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which has investigated possible Kremlin interference in British politics for more than a year, according to The Guardian’s Luke Harding, who wrote a book about Steele’s investigation of President Donald Trump.

It is unclear what information Steele provided for the investigation, but the report will say British intelligence found no evidence that Russia influenced the outcome of the Brexit vote, which was held June 23, 2016, two sources directly familiar with the report told BuzzFeed News.

The Russia report became a source of controversy this week after Dominic Grieve, the member of parliament who chairs ISC, accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of improperly withholding the findings. Grieve’s protests have led to some speculation that the investigation uncovered evidence of Russian involvement in the Brexit vote.

The report states that the finding of no Russian meddling is categorical, according to BuzzFeed.

 

It is unclear from the Guardian report what information Steele provided to British authorities, or when he shared it.

Steele, who operates the firm Orbis Business Intelligence in London, was hired in June 2016 by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm, to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia. The Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign had hired Fusion GPS months earlier to collect dirt on Trump.

 

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets US Vice-President Mike Pence in central London (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on possible Trump-Russia collusion undercut several of Steele’s most explosive allegations, including that there was a “well-developed conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election.

The Justice Department’s inspector general is set to release a report on whether the FBI properly handled information from Steele, which was used to obtain four surveillance warrants against Page.

After Trump’s election win, Steele continued working with Fusion GPS on behalf of The Democracy Integrity Project, a U.S.-based non-profit group founded by Daniel Jones, a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. (RELATED: Firms Tied To Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele Were Paid $3.8 Million By Soros-Backed Group)

TDIP’s tax filing in 2017 shows that the group paid Fusion GPS and Steele’s firm more than $3.3 million and $250,000, respectively. TDIP also paid nearly $150,000 to Istok Associates, a U.K.-based firm that has pushed the allegation that Russia interfered in the Brexit vote.

According to TDIP’s tax filing, the group conducted research and analysis and managed “a network” of organizations aimed at tracking efforts by foreign actors “to interfere in democratic elections.”

The tax filing does not specific TDIP’s work, but says the group shares information with “a variety of organizations … including government entities.”

Neil Barnett, the CEO of Istok Associates, has been an outspoken proponent of the theory that Russian interference in Brexit. He asserted in a Nov. 11, 2017, article that evidence suggested that Russia had interfered in the Brexit referendum. He also said British officials were withholding information about Russian intrusion from the public.

In an article July 26, 2016, Barnett questioned whether Arron Banks, a British entrepreneur who helped fund Leave.EU, a political campaign that supported the Brexit referendum, had ties to Russians.

Neither Orbis nor Istok responded to requests for comment.

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Chuck Ross

Investigative Reporter