Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier, will not cooperate with an investigation led by a prosecutor handpicked by Attorney General William Barr to review the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, Reuters reports.
Barr appointed John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to oversee the inquiry. President Donald Trump last Thursday also granted Barr the authority to declassify documents related to the government’s investigation and surveillance of the Trump campaign.
The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Barr has said that he is concerned about the FBI’s use of Steele’s document, which had several of its core allegations debunked by the special counsel’s report. (RELATED: Who Is John Durham, The Man Appointed To Investigation Russia Probe Origins?)
Steele alleged in his dossier that the Trump campaign took part in a “well orchestrated conspiracy” with Kremlin operatives to influence the 2016 election. But special counsel Robert Mueller was unable to establish such a conspiracy, he said in a report last month.
Mueller also debunked Steele’s claim that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Russian government officials. The report said that Cohen did not visit Prague. He also denied the claim in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in February.
A source close to Steele told Reuters that the former MI6 officer is open to cooperating with a different investigation headed by the Justice Department inspector general into the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign.
Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, is looking into the FBI’s handling of the dossier to obtain the Carter Page surveillance warrants. He is also reportedly investigating whether the FBI misrepresented Steele’s history as a confidential informant for the bureau.
Steele was interviewed twice in the special counsel’s investigation, and submitted answers in writing to the Senate Intelligence Committee. But he has avoided the public spotlight since the dossier was published by BuzzFeed on Jan. 10, 2017.
He backed out of a security conference that was to be held in Baltimore last month.